Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lavender Honey Grilled Chicken and a Summer Salad

He was going to London and I was going to Paris. I ran into my colleague and beekeeper friend, Rich on our way to work. As we discussed his bees, he thought I might enjoy visiting a honey shop in Paris while I was there. He scribbled the directions on a scrap of paper and wrote down the proprietor's and apiculteur's name, Jean-Jaques. I would tell him Rich sent me. When I awoke from my nap in Paris on a hot, sunny afternoon, I headed out in search of honey. Twisting and turning up the steep hill to Butte-aux-Cailles, I found the honey/bee keepers shop, Les Abeilles. Jean-Jaques was tending the shop and when I mentioned Rich's name he smiled. The shelves were lined with honey and honey products, as well as beekeeper's accoutrement. As I stood there chatting with Jean-Jacques, a honeybee flew in and buzzed around this friendly place. Nothing like a little ambiance! Small jars of honey were lined up for tasting and I chose a wild lavender honey from Spain to buy. I tucked it into my bag thinking about using it in my tea, salad dressing or on grilled chicken. I went back out into the warm June sun to go to my next stop, la porcelaine blanche. It is a small shop on rue Monge, at the foot of the Mouffetarde. Mainly you'll find white porcelain, but they also have some colorful pottery, too.
White French porcelain has always been a favorite of mine and this is one of many stores in Paris with a good selection. I found a lyrically shaped white plate and a small edged, white dish shaped like the country of France. Oooh-la-la! I was drawn to them like bees to honey ;-) and was already envisioning what I'd put on them.....maybe something with honey, no?!
Hi Honey, I'm home!!

Lavender Honey Grilled Chicken

1 boneless chicken breast, about 1 1/2 pounds
2 tablespoons lavender honey*
2 teaspoons herb de Provence with lavender
freshly ground pepper
*Or use your favorite honey.

Have ready a grill that is medium high temperature.

Rinse and pat the chicken dry and cut it into 4 strips. Coat the chicken with the honey and sprinkle with the herb de Provence. Freshly grind pepper over chicken to taste. Place the chicken onto the hot grill and grill until mostly cooked on one side, about 15 minutes. Turn and finish cooking until nicely browned, but not burned. The sugars in the honey can easily burn, so adjust temperature if it starts to brown too quickly. It should be nicely caramelized.
Once the chicken is done, take off of the grill and put it on a plate to rest. Slice diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces and serve either warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4.

Baby Greens and Basil Salad with Honey Ginger Vinaigrette

5 ounces mixed baby greens, rinsed well
1 ounce basil leaves, rinsed well
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted
assorted herb flowers or other small edible flowers*
4 lavender flowers* on their stems, fresh or dried
*Make sure they have not been sprayed with pesticides or chemicals. I use them from my garden so I can be certain they are organic. Use only the herb flowers in a recipe where you would use that herb, since the flower taste resembles the herb.
In a large salad bowl, mix the basil, baby greens and flowers together. Reserve the lavender flowers for garnish. Add the Honey Ginger Vinaigrette and toss. Divide evenly among 4 serving plates. Garnish with any extra edible flowers and the lavender. For extra lavender flavor, pull the lavender flowers from the stem and sprinkle over the salad. Since lavender has a strong flavor, I like to let each person add their own, if desired.

Serves 4.
Honey Ginger Vinaigrette

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice*
1 tablespoon (or more, if you like it sweeter) lavender honey**
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
good pinch of cayenne pepper
sea salt to taste
*If you can't find Meyer lemons, use 3 parts lemon juice and 1 part orange juice.
**Or use your favorite honey.

Whisk together the lemon juice, honey, and ginger in a small bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking, until thoroughly blended and emulsified. Add the cayenne pepper and salt to taste.

Makes 3/4 cup vinaigrette.

A chilled dry Rosé compliments the grilled chicken and the summery salad very well. Lavender Honey Grilled Chicken recipe.
Baby Greens and Basil Salad with Honey Ginger Vinaigrette recipe.

Les Abeilles
21, rue de la Butte-aux-Caille

metro: Place d'Italie or Corvisart

la porcelaine blanche
119, rue Monge

metro: Censier Daubenton

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