This is a rich, earthy spread, but also a healthy one. The amount of oil you will need to puree the mixture to a spreadable consistency will depend upon how much oil is in the olives and the tomatoes. I made this to use on Chef Garnier’s Tapenade Flatbreads, but any tapenade of your choice, purchased or homemade would be fine.

1/3 cup oil cured black olives, pitted 1/3 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped 1/4 cup oil-packed dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped 1/2 teaspoon of the tomato oil 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves 2 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Coarsely chop the olives and place them in a blender or food processor with the walnuts, dried tomato, tomato oil and fresh thyme. Blend or process until the mixture in well-mixed. Slowly add olive oil, pureeing or processing until the mixture reaches the desired consistency for spreading. Makes about 1 cup.

Serves 8 as an appetizer

Honey and Lavender Glazed Chicken

The powerful flavors and fragrance of the herbs creates a tremendously woodsy tang mingled with sweetness. The skin of the chicken turns a glistening dark mahogany, while the meat beneath remains tender and fragrant. This is my version of a dish I had at Les Santons restaurant in Moustiers-Ste.-Marie.

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4 teaspoons lavender flowers, crushed 2 teaspoons minced dried lavender stems 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves 2 teaspoons fresh or dried winter savory leaves 12 black peppercorns 1 teaspoon sea salt 4 chicken breast halves, bone-in, skin on ¼ cup strong-flavored honey, preferably lavender or acacia

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. In a mortar, grind together 2 teaspoons of the lavender flowers, the stems, thyme, winter savory, peppercorns, and salt. Rub each chicken breast half with about 1 teaspoon of the mixture. Place the chicken breasts, skin side up, on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and baste the chicken thoroughly with honey. Sprinkle all but 2 teaspoons of the remaining herb mixture evenly over the chicken breasts. Return to the oven, reduce the heat to 350 degrees F, and roast, basting frequently with the pan juices, until the juices run clear when a chicken breast is pierced with the tip of a knife, about 20 minutes longer. Frequent basting is important as the honey, once warm, pours off the chicken into the pan and regular basting ensures the honey flavor of the finished dish.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately, sprinkled with the remaining 2 teaspoons crushed lavender flowers.

Serves 4.

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