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Lavender may seems like an odd salad ingredient, but it's delightful scent has a natural affinity with sweet garlic, orange and other wild herbs. A serving of polenta makes this salad both filling and delicious. From the Cook's Encyclopedia of chicken - a cookbook shelf must have!
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 3 3⁄4 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup fine polenta
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 lb Baby Spinach
- 6 ounces lamb's lettuce
- 8 sprigs fresh lavender
- 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
- salt and black pepper
- 6 fresh lavender flowers
- 2 teaspoons finely grated orange rind
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons freshly chopped thyme
- 2 teaspoons freshly chopped marjoram
- To make the marinade, strip the lavender flowers from the stems and combine with the orange rind, garlic, honey and salt; add the olive oil and herbs.
- Slash the chicken deeply, spread the mixture over the chicken and marinate in the refrigerator 20 minutes.
- To cook the polenta - in a heavy saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil; add the polenta in a steady stream, stirring all the time until thick; this will take 2 to 3 minutes.
- Turn the cooked polenta out onto a 1 inch deep buttered tray and allow to cool.
- Heat the broiler to medium. (If using a barbecue, let the embers settle to a steady glow) Grill the chicken about 15 minutes, turning once.
- Cut the polenta into 1 inch cubes with a wet knife.
- Heat the butter in a large frying pan and fry the polenta until golden brown.
- Wash the salad leaves and spin dry, divide among 4 large plates.
- Slice each chicken breast and lay over the salad. Place the polenta among the salad, garnish with sprigs of lavender and tomatoes, season to taste and serve.