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Lavender Is The Unlikely Herb You Should Use In Lamb Dishes

rack of lamb and lavender
rack of lamb and lavender - Static Media / Shutterstock / Getty

Though you may associate lavender with bath salts and products meant to encourage relaxation, culinary lavender might be the cheat code you've been looking for to build layers of flavor in both savory and sweet dishes. A little goes a long way when it comes to adding this aromatic ingredient to recipes. Whether making a simple syrup flavored with the plant or sprinkling dried buds directly onto plates, the inclusion can bring an invigorating aroma to desserts and main courses.

You'll notice that culinary lavender offers subtle mint and spice flavors, not simply the calming scents you are used to experiencing in candles and lotions. Sometimes added to North American versions of Herbs de Provence, culinary lavender can also be used as a standalone star, such as when paired with a gamey plate of lamb. Instead of flavoring your proteins with a floral-forward seasoning that reminds you of the soap in the bathroom, the right amount of lavender can bring a more earthy, grounded aspect to dishes. While lamb is commonly dressed with rosemary and garlic, the flavorful presence of lavender can add that extra touch you've been longing for. Use chopped leaves from fresh lavender to rub meat before roasting, add to the mix for slow-cooked lamb shanks, or bring dried sprigs into the fold with sauces made with the aromatic addition. This combination is delicious when served with roasted potatoes or beds of mixed grains.

Read more: The Best Meat For Your Charcuterie Board Isn't One You'd Expect

An Ingredient That Encourages The Act Of Savoring

assortment of fresh herbs
assortment of fresh herbs - Plateresca/Shutterstock

Enhancing richer, savory dishes with lavender can offer an unexpected twist on traditional recipes. Consider adding a dash of culinary lavender to the next lamb sausage patties you make, or infuse honey with the herb and use it in a marinade with garlic and lemon. Once you've tried lamb flavored with lavender, you may be looking for ways to bring the unmistakable ingredient to other dishes. Lavender works best with bold flavors. It can hold its own when paired with fatty, oily steaks and filets, but always add the ingredient sparingly to dishes, as it can easily overtake your recipe.

Once lavender has been welcomed into your kitchen, options are endless. Infuse a small dish of sugar with a sprig or grind a handful to sprinkle into your next batch of baked goods, like shortbread or blueberry coffee cake. Mix and match with other herbs to bring a lively aspect to seared ahi tuna or create buttery sauces enhanced with the plant. Should you feel overwhelmed while preparing kitchen dishes, one whiff of the ingredient can remind you to relax and settle in. This is an experience to be savored.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.