May 9th, 2012

Dillweed Forest

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Because one lone plant was most prolific last summer, with
Multiple blossomed whorls gone to vigorous seed,
Because the winter was mild and the sprouts hardy
A great patch of dillweed, tall and feathery, took hold in my front yard.

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This unexpected abundance has me both delighted and stumped. And while its beauty alone makes the little dillweed forest a welcome presence in our postage stamp garden, I’ve been seeking new ways to use this herb.

In pickling, certainly. Snipped into salads, baked onto a side of salmon, folded into a quickbread batter with cheddar cheese.

I welcome your suggestions.

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One way I’ve been enjoying dillweed is in this sauce that uses lush Greek yogurt.

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Simple–and versatile.

A quick whisk of herbs, coarse grain mustard, vinegar, and olive oil into a bowl of this plain creamy base readily transforms into a sauce, or dip, or dressing. You might relish a dollop of this on a falafel-pita sandwich, or as a cooling dip for a spicy grilled lamb kebab. It stands up nicely alongside a tray of crudites. Or potato chips!

Long ago, I would make something similar, using sour cream. Now, I prefer tangy and thick-bodied Greek yogurt in its stead. So accessible at the market, ( all the yogurt companies have added Greek to their repertoire) it makes a terrific substitute–healthier too.

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Today, I used it to dress potato salad–a springtime variation that combines new potatoes and asparagus. So seasonal, both vegetables take well to dillweed, and both work together in this somewhat different dish.

You actually plunge the asparagus tips right in with the potatoes, in the final minute of cooking.

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Drain and cool—just slightly. When still warm, the new potatoes tend to absorb the dressing better. That bit of heat blooms the herbs in the sauce. You can serve the salad immediately, if you like. Or serve it chilled.

It tastes fantastic, either way.

If you have any other of-the-moment garden veggies on hand, slice ’em up and put ’em in. The crisp bite of French radishes, for instance, would be exceptional in this dish. Cucumbers? Yes. Scallions, too.

And, remember–I’m on the lookout for more ways to use my dillweed forest. Please share!

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NEW POTATO-ASPARAGUS SALAD with GREEK YOGURT DILL SAUCE

1 1/2 lbs. small New Potatoes, cleaned and quartered
1 bundle fresh Asparagus, cut on the diagonal into small pieces

1 1/2 cups Greek Yogurt
1 T. Coarse Grain Mustard
1 T. White Wine Vinegar
1 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 heaping T. fresh Dillweed, chopped
1 T. fresh Chives, chopped
1 1/2 t. Sea Salt
1/2 t. Black Pepper

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil and add new potatoes. Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes.
Add asparagus pieces and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and drain.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together all the remaining ingredients.

Place slightly cooled potatoes and asparagus into a serving bowl. Spoon yogurt-dill sauce over the vegetables.
Toss and fold until well coated.

Garnish with dillweed.

May serve warm, room temperature, or chilled.

Makes 6-8 servings.

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Posted in Recipes, Salads, Vegetables | 33 Comments »




June 4th, 2009

Delicious Shrimp and Dill

The inspiration for this salad comes from the tallest member of the Bill and Nancy Belmont Farmette–Anethum graveolens —Dillweed. A gift from Tally May, this plant was maybe five inches tall when I put it in the ground eight short weeks ago, and now it’s in its glory: almost five feet of aromatic feathery leaves and whorls of pinpoint blooms–a kind of fireworks display in yellow.

The ancient Greeks regarded Dill as the plant of prosperity, its very presence indicated wealth.
So, I feel mightily blessed to have my one-and-only gracing the garden front.

It’s early June, and temperatures are already creeping up into the 90’s. My garden mesclun greens are plentiful, but in danger of turning bitter. With heat and greens and billowy dill, I ‘ve got the makings for a summery salad for dinner, no time to lose!

What other good things to build the salad?
Look to the season’s offerings, I remind myself: they all play well together.
So, we’ve got
Cucumbers, new potatoes, and sugar snap peas……
Plus,
some shrimp coated with dillweed and lemon zest, quickly seared in the pan.

Composing a salad—-laying out all the elements in mandala-like fashion on a plate—is a simple way to make a stunning presentation. It also gives it structure, a place for each ingredient to be.

This salad is delicious served chilled or at room temperature. It doesn’t take long to make and I find that combining chilled things (sugar snaps, greens, cukes) with warm things (shrimp, new potatoes) in the dish enhances flavors. For vegetarians like Bill, I substitute chevre for the shrimp.
Give it all a good drizzle of of the lemony-dijon-dill dressing. Enjoy! These garden lettuces and herbs are fleeting things.

Dilled Shrimp and Sugar Snap Salad
10 pieces Peeled and Deveined Raw Shrimp
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
Fresh Dillweed–a few stems
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
Sugar Snap Peas—a handful, maybe 12-15 pieces
Cucumber—just a piece (less than half of one)
4-5 roasted Baby New Potatoes
Mixed Salad Greens, washed and dried

Place shrimp in a bowl and toss with olive oil, lemon zest, and sea salt. Wrap each shrimp with a sprig of dill.
Blanche Sugar Snaps in a skillet of boiling water for less than a minute–forty five seconds. Remove and chill.
Slice cucumbers and new potatoes.
Heat a skillet and drop in shrimp to sear for a minute one one side–then flip and sear on the other. Remove from heat and let the shrimp sit in the skillet.
Arrange lettuces on the plate.Add a ring of slice cucumbers and new potatoes, then sugar snaps.
Top with cooked shrimp. Drizzle with lemon-dill aioli and garnish with a few dill sprigs and lemon slice.

serves 2

Lemon-Dill Aioli
1 clove roasted Garlic
3 Tablespoons fresh Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 heaping Tablespoon chopped Dillweed
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
6 Tablespoons Olive Oil

In a small bowl, mash the roasted garlic with a fork and mix in the lemon juice, dijon, dillweed, and salt. Mix into a paste. Add in the olive oil, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is emulsified. Taste for seasoning and acidity—add more lemon if you like.

Here’s hoping this noble plant will reseed and return next spring!

Posted in Fish/Seafood, Recipes, Salads | 8 Comments »