Adventures of the Heart
Mary Zalmanek
Entrees: Lavender Pepper Steak

One visit to a lavender farm and you’ll know that fragrant flower isn’t just for potpourri any more. Blueberry lavender ice cream, chocolate-dipped lavender cookies, and lavender salt are just a few of the tempting treats.  Lavender has a floral, slightly sweet flavor.   


For a special dinner, buy some culinary lavender (or pick it from your yard).  Get the finest beef tenderloins you can find.  This pepper steak has a tasty spice crust. 


Serves 2.


2 beef filets (cut from tenderloin)

1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt or sea salt

1/2 tbsp black peppercorns, coarsely ground

1 tbsp fennel seeds, coarsely ground

1/4 tsp white peppercorns, coarsely ground

1 tsp lavender, ground to a powder

3 tbsp light olive oil, virgin or extra virgin


Grind black peppercorns, white peppercorns, fennel, and lavender in electric coffee grinder. (You could also do it by hand with a mortar and pestle, but that’s more work.) Mix with salt in a bowl or plate.  Brush olive oil into both sides of the steaks; press both sides into the spice mixture to form a spice crust.  Let rest 2 hours at room temperature.


Tenderloins can be cooked on the grill or stove top.  For stove top, heat cast iron skillet over high heat.  Add balance of olive oil (2 tbsp). When oil is almost smoking, add the steaks carefully so as not to disturb their crusts.  Immediately reduce heat to moderate.  Cook first side until bottom crust browns, about 4 minutes.  Turn and finish cooking to desired doneness (3 to 5 minutes for medium rare -- 3 minutes if covered, 5 minutes if not).  If steaks are very thick, they’ll take longer to cook.