Friday, May 20, 2011

A bounty of Dill

Nathanael and I have been having a very fun time sharing our harvest with our friends and neighbors. When we have given them beans, peas, carrots, spinach or even beets, everyone is ready to share with us how they plan to use them. When it comes to herbs, however, particularly dill, most people have looked in the bag and said, "So how do I use this one?"
   I have to admit I am sort of in the same boat. I love dill, but I don't have a plethora of ideas to utilize it. My first thought is always pickles, but I do have a friend who always makes dill omelets. Our neighbor from Romania recommended tossing dill with other vegetables in a salad, and my dear walking partner from Iran told me she makes dill rice to go with fish (which I recommend by the way, especially with a flavorful brown rice and butter). But, despite the beloved fish and dill combination, I was really looking for a dish to recommend to everyone that would use things they already had...because we really have a ton of dill.

If I were a Black Swallowtail Butterfly (also known as Parsley caterpillar), I might spend my whole life surviving on the stuff, and wandering around looking resplendent. 

Papilio polyxenes asterius

These guys were rawists...dill-ists in fact, but had no recipes to share with me.

Inspired by the enormous bunch of dill I gave her, my friend Hannah discovered just the thing I was looking for. A very basic dill potato recipe from Veg Recipes of India. It is simple and quick, but also a perfect way to really appreciate the flavor of dill. The amounts are imprecise; you could spice it up, or add other root vegetables if you wanted to be creative*, but leaving it basic will also please your palate.  

Dill Potatoes yield 4-6 side servings
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 big bunch of fresh dill leaves, chopped (about 1 cup or more when hard stems are excluded) 
3 to 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch rounds
5-6 medium cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and black pepper to taste

1. Heat a large, heavy bottomed pan. Add the oil, and once heated add garlic and saute for one minute.
2. Add potatoes and saute for a few minutes until they begin to soften, perhaps 6-7 minutes.
3.  Add dill leaves and spices, mix well. Then, add salt and 1/2 cup to 1 cup water, cover, and cook gently for 8 to 10 minutes. If the water dries up add more.
4. Remove the lid and cook until liquid has evaporated and potatoes are very tender.
Serve as a side dish, or with dal and rice or chapatis.

*Dill and carrots are related so they are also a delicious combination. Prepare them similarly, adding about 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds to the oil at the beginning, a bit of ginger with the garlic, and some powdered cumin and coriander with the other spices.

What recipe comes first to your mind when you think about having boatloads of fresh dill?


  1. I grew dill once; We had our patch ravished by caterpillars, but we had enough to manage my #1 dill recipe: Bread Dip. It is so simple and is a great appetizer or party dish. All you do is make a bread boule, cut off the top, and hollow it a considerable amount, saving the inner bread for dipping. In a mixer mix two bricks of cream cheese (or neufchatel) and a bunch of chopped dill (or any spice or dried fruit or seeds really, but dill is the best). Once it is mixed fill your hollowed out bread boule with it, replace the top and pop it in the oven at 365 for about 20 minutes or until all of the cheese is warm and melty. We like to have extra bread and veggies for dipping too.

  2. I love dill with fish, but I also like it to add it to potato salad, tuna salad, and chicken salad. It really adds something extra :>) I don't think there's much better then fresh dill in summer, just a whiff of it makes me want to put it in everything.

  3. You know, I am one of the group that doesn't know what to do with dill. Thank you so much for sharing. And those caterpillars are simply amazing, a work of art:):)

  4. I love the caterpillars! And I hope you haven't had any more trouble with the ant bites. I wonder if there is some sort of natural repellent you could put on your arms and legs while you're out in the garden?

  5. Sarah,

    I just stopped by, and I've got to say, I love your page! Beautiful photos, so fresh I could just smell them! I have a very simple use for dill: just add mayo. Seriously, it makes a deceptively delicious dip for pretzels or other crunchy tidbits.

    Many blessings,

  6. Those caterpillars are fabulous!! Wow!

  7. I am with your Romanian neighbor! Sprinkling your salad with fresh dill gives such a wonderful taste! By the way, I use dried dill for that as well. Or I sometimes keep it in the freezer to keep it fresh for the winter.


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