A Taste of Provence: Honey and Lavender Roasted Apricots with Goat Cheese
Provence. An iconic French landscape. Sun dappled fields of lavender. Bright green vineyards far as the eye can see, tasting rooms in the heart of cobblestoned villages. Family-owned farms producing picodon goat cheese and freshly harvested honey. It’s a place that’s hard not to love.
We had made our way to Nyons for the Thursday morning market. A region where houses and villages are scattered, a centralized market draws a crowd and people were flocking to buy liters of locally made olive oil and braided garlic. Fresh fruit from around the region exploded out of wooden crates. You can’t get more local than this.
“Eat local” is one of those expressions that can easily lose its meaning. Even the most diligent among us rarely eat 100% local. You do like coffee after all don’t you?
But there are places, and seasons, where making sure your entire dinner comes from within a 50-mile radius isn’t just possible, it’s easy. This was one of those times.
“You want to get a whole crate of apricots?”
Silly question. If local, organically grown apricots are available you should always get a crate, even if you only have two days left in a rental house and there’s no way you are going to lug all of them back to Paris to make jam. You will eat them. You must eat them.
For dinner, there was a white vin naturel, purchased directly from the vigneron of course, and a salad of tomatoes, cucumber and basil. Again, locally grown. The only thing to do was come up with an appetizer to go before the meal.
I had picked some rosemary earlier in the day – well, in all honesty it was taking from the garden of an abby when no one was looking – and lavender fields were a dime a dozen, so I figured a local producer wasn’t going to miss a few stalks. (If you haven’t been adding lavender to food, you have been missing out).
And as such, this dish was born.
A plate full of summer, which can easily be made no matter where you are, because apricots are not restricted to Southern France, either is honey, either is goat cheese and either is rosemary. The lavender might be a stretch, but it’s pretty and it gives this dish the kind of twist that makes people go “what is that??” If that isn’t up your alley, or you want to stick true to eating local, go for some finely chopped basil instead.
Honey and Lavender Roasted Apricots with Goat Cheese
Cut the apricots in half, take out the pit and place them on a baking sheet.
In the center of each apricot, place enough goat cheese to fill the indent. Add about a teaspoon of honey on top.
Sprinkle with lavender and rosemary.
Bake in over at 400F for about 20 minutes. Let cool just a little bit and serve warm.