- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 large boneless chicken breasts, skin-on
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ¾ teaspoons coarse kosher salt, divided
- 1⁄3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1⁄3 cup Merlot, or other dry red wine
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- ½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon dried lavender flowers*
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6-8 pieces
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- Fresh lavender sprigs, for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
In a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Lay the chicken on paper towels and sprinkle on both sides with the black pepper and 1 teaspoon of the salt. When the pan is hot, cook the chicken, skin side down, until browned, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken, place the skillet in the oven, and roast until the chicken is cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter or plates (be careful — the handle of the skillet will be very hot) and let it rest, loosely covered with foil, for 5 minutes.
While the chicken is in the oven, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, wine, shallot, vinegar, and dried lavender and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1⁄3 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, 2-3 pieces at a time, waiting until the pieces are melted before adding more. Stir in the white pepper and remaining ¾ teaspoon of salt. Cover to keep warm and set aside.
Serve the chicken hot, with the sauce drizzled on top, and garnished with the fresh lavender sprigs, if using.