Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dill. It's Not Just For Pickles

Dill is native to southern Russia, western Asia and the eastern Mediterranean. It was well known as a seasoning in ancient Rome, and it's a favorite all over the world, from Scandinavia to India.

The plant is strangely lovely: The slender stalk can grow to five feet tall, with a flower head like a lacy umbrella of tiny yellow flowers. Each little flower produces seed. The foliage of the dill plant consists of feathery fronds that sprout from the stalk. Stalk, fronds, seeds and flowers are all aromatic. I got the accompanying picture, by the way, from a beautiful site called Insightful Nana.

Some people say the flavor of dill resembles anise, but I love dill and I'm not so hot on anise, so I don't think so. Some say it tastes like caraway, but I agree with the authors who maintain that the flavor of dill is uniquely its own--a little tangy, a little sweet.

It's easy to grow, but hard to get rid of. I planted it once, and it's come back on its own ever since. One of the mysteries of spring is seeing in what part of the garden the dill comes up this year.

Dill isn't just good for pickles--it's great with fish and with potatoes, beets, carrots, eggs--just about anything. I love to put dill weed in my salmon croquettes (well, I live in the Midwest, so we call them "salmon patties", but they're the same thing). I also love to put it in bread--dill bread is fantastic with orange marmalade. If you've never tried it, I highly recommend it.

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

6 comments:

Lisa Hall said...

I love dill with peas.

Sara Thompson said...

I love dill as well - it's great in scrambled eggs with a little cheese.

Marian Allen said...

Mmmm! Both of those sound YUM! Duly noted. :)

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Dill is good in dips.

anthony stemke said...

Love anise, love caraway, like dill.

Marian Allen said...

Alex, you're right--dill IS good in dips! Anthony, sounds like you like the family flavor profile, but maybe the stronger versions and without the sweetness of the dill. My preferences go the opposite way along the continuum: Love dill, love caraway, like anise under controlled circumstances (as part of Springerles).

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes