Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Garrigue - A New Word and a New Spice Blend

I am trying to think up some appetizers for Friday; one is for a Chateauneuf du Pape (Vieux Telegraphe). In all the research while filling in those wine/food pairing sheets I made (see yesterday's blog), I came across the term “garrigue” as in a flavor or aroma and used in reference to Southern Rhone wines such as Chateauneuf or Bandol and others. We have had some bottles of Rhone called Domaine la Garrigue, Vacqueyras, but had not ever seen the word "garrigue" used as a flavor term, so I looked it up.

Turns out it is a term for the combined aromas of all the wild herbs and plants that grow in the chalky soil in that area, such as rosemary, sage, thyme, fennel, juniper, lavender, mint, lemon verbena, marjoram and others. One web site says: The reason we now hear this term in relationship to wine is that it refers to the flavorful, earthy, salty and pungent aromas and flavors often found in garrigue wines.

So today I got this idea. I was thinking of using a flank steak again, as it is easy to marinate and give all sorts of flavors, then broil and slice. I decided to pick from this palate of flavors and make a dry mix first, them blend that with a combination of balsamic and currants, a touch of honey and olive oil. I went shopping late this afternoon, so I just got the flank steak. I will probably wait till Thursday to open it and start the marinating. This is what I used:

Garrigue Seasoning Blend

makes 1/2 cup

1½ tablespoons pink peppercorns (for their floral notes)
1 tablespoon each, dried: lavender flowers, black pepper, sage, thyme, fennel
15 juniper berries
1 tablespoon sea salt
My Garrigue Seasoning Blend
All these spices went into a little spice grinder and ground fine. I will probably add in some dried lemon peel instead of lemon verbena (that I don’t have). I added the pink peppercorns to lend their floral notes, though they are not a part of the garrigue herbs. It is a pungent combination of ingredients and it smells really, REALLY good. I put the whole batch into a spice blender and made it into powder. This makes about 1/2 cup in all, so there is plenty left to use for other applications.
Meanwhile, as with everything I make now, I thought I should get some pictures of the herbs and spices, individually, and then mixed the whole batch together and took shots of the whole mélange. The pictures are so pretty I may just make this my wallpaper! 

I am planning to marinate and broil the steak, slice it and serve it on little toasts with a couple pieces of arugula and a slice of sharp cheddar. Once I have used this and see how it goes, I will report here on the results.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.