These hors d'oeuvres feature lavender and former chef Odessa Piper's favorite herb, anise hyssop (see TIP). Use only the individual, opened blossoms from the spike of purple lavender, and remember: A little goes a long way. Fresh culinary lavender is widely available at area farmers markets.
These bites are at their best eaten within 1 hour.
Wine importer Terry Theise says they can be served with a 2001 Muller-Catoir Riesling Halbtrocken (Germany) or any minerally Riesling with a touch of residual sweetness.
Servings: 24 bites
- 16 large anise hyssop leaves (see TIP; may substitute mint leaves), plus 1 optional tablespoon of the plant's blossoming buds
- 4 ounces plain chevre (goat's-milk cheese)
- 4 tablespoons crème fraîche
- 4 slices cut 1/2-inch thick from a seedless watermelon, rind and white flesh removed
- 1/4 teaspoon flaked sea salt, such as Maldon (may substitute coarse kosher salt)
- 1 tablespoon organic edible flower petals (any combination of anise hyssop blossoms or culinary lavender blossoms (see headnote), or other edible flowers such as viola, bee balm, borage or bachelor button. Pluck individual petals from the stem.
Cut 4 of the largest anise hyssop leaves into 1/8-inch pieces, then combine in a small bowl with the chevre and creme fraiche. Add up to 1 tablespoon of the plucked anise hyssop buds, if desired; mix well.
Stack the trimmed watermelon slices and cut them into bite-size pieces. Lay the 24 watermelon pieces on a serving tray; use any partial pieces to taste-test the proportions of all the elements.
Place a couple of flakes of sea salt on each watermelon piece and taste with some of the chevre; adjust the salt level as desired.
Cut the remaining 12 anise hyssop leaves in half lengthwise and offset on each piece of watermelon so the edges will poke out once the chevre mixture is added.
Scoop a teaspoon of the chevre mixture; use a second spoon to push it out on top of each watermelon-leaf piece. Garnish with an individual lavender blossom or other edible flower petal.
Serve immediately, or cover loosely and refrigerate. Serve within 1 hour.
From Odessa Piper.
Tested by Odessa Piper.
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