Ingredients

Dill

Aneth odorant or fenouil bâtard (French); anitho (Greek); gurkenkraut (German); koper ogrodowy (Polish); krip (Ukrainian); krop (Yiddish); shamir or shevet rehani (Hebrew); stinkende vinke (Dutch); ukrop (Russian).

General Description: Dill (Anethum graveolens) has feathery, bright green fronds of long, soft, needlelike leaves with a flavor between anise, parsley, and celery. Dill originated in central Asia, and it has retained its popularity in Georgia’s famous spice mixture khmeli-suneli and in Iran’s boiled beans with dill. Dill shows up in Greek and Turkish vegetable casseroles, stuffed vegetables, and yogurt sauces. Today, dill is one of the most commonly available fresh herbs in northern Europe and is especially popular in Poland, Russia, Germany, and, above all, Scandinavia, where it is an essential seasoning. It is also prominent in Ashkenazi Jewish cookery, where it goes into chicken soup and kosher dill pickles.

Dill leaves, especially when fresh, are sweeter and more aromatic than the dried fruits (often misnamed dill seeds), which are sharper and more pungent. In Europe, dill fruits are mostly used to flavor breads and fresh or pickled cucumbers. In Poland and Russia, dill is popular in the pickled vegetables that provide freshness during the long cold winters, and it’s one of the few herbs used regularly in the Baltic region. Scandinavian cooks depend on dill to flavor fish and shellfish dishes.

Purchase and Avoid: Look for young, sprightly, bright-colored leaves with no wilting, slime, or yellowing. Dill tends to spoil quickly because the leaves are fine and feathery.

Serving Suggestions: Top hot beef borscht or cold vegetarian borscht with sour cream and chopped dill. Add dill to mayonnaise-based potato, egg, chicken, or turkey salad. Season Greek mixed-vegetable casseroles with dill.

Food Affinities: Beans, beet, bell pepper, chicken, cucumber, fish, green beans, mustard, pickles, smoked salmon, sour cream, yogurt.

from Quirk Books: www.quirkbooks.com