Monday, July 30, 2012

Grilled Potatoes with Lavender

If you know me at all — or have read this blog for any length of time —you probably realize I'm a wee bit obsessed with purple things. Among the few purple foods, purple potatoes may be my favorite: They are so unabashedly vibrant! I haven't yet made purple potato pizza, but I'm still playing with potatoes and lavender.

This vegetarian side dish is perfect for a party. You can steam the potatoes early in the day, and then they take only about 10 minutes to finish up on the grill. The result is much like oven-roasted potatoes. This technique is especially nice on steamy hot days when you can't bear to turn on the oven.

I love this combination of lavender, lemon thyme, and red wine vinegar, but you can freely make substitutions to suit your taste — or what's in your garden.

Grilled Potatoes with Lavender

Be sure to use lavender that's free of pesticides. Feel free to substitute other herbs if you don't care for — or have access to — lavender or lemon thyme.

2 pounds small purple potatoes, or other new potatoes (I used a mix here)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive, grapeseed, or safflower oil, divided
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
6 teaspoons fresh culinary lavender, chopped, or 3 teaspoons dried
2 teaspoons fresh lemon thyme, chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried

Steam potatoes for about 10 minutes, until just tender. (If you have a pressure cooker, this takes just 3 minutes.) You can do this earlier in the day and store the potatoes in the refrigerator until you're ready for grilling.

Cut steamed potatoes in half and toss with 2 tablespoons oil. Spread on a grilling pan and grill over medium heat for 5 minutes, then turn and grill another 5 minutes or so until crisp.

Meanwhile, make the dressing: whisk together 1/4 cup of oil, vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper, 4 teaspoons of lavender, and lemon thyme. When potatoes are done, remove from grill and toss with dressing. Serve warm.

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