Saturday, June 07, 2008

Weekend Herb Blogging: Dill

Dill, like coriander, is used as both an herb and a spice. The seeds are used as a spice, the dried leaves are referred to as dill weed, and herb, and of course, the best of these, fresh dill as an herb.

The best known use for dill, of course, is the pickle. But the other summer classic dish, potato salad would not be the same without a bit of dill. Okay, a lot of dill. I like a lighter approach to the dressing, myself. So, I cut the standard mayo in half, use a 2:1 ratio of mayo to vinegar and add a whole lot of herbs.

Classic Potato Salad
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1 tbs. chopped fresh chives
1 tsp. salt
1 tbs. honey
1/2 tsp. pepper

2 lbs. red-skinned new potatoes (or you can use reds and Yukon gold both)
2 large spring onions, chopped with about 1-inch of green parts

Wash potatoes, skin on. Place in large pot of salted water. Boil until potatoes are fork tender, but not falling apart. Drain and cool. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Mix dressing ingredients together. Add to the potatoes and the onions and toss gently. Let the flavor marry for a couple hours while the salad chills.

Just a serving suggestion, but if your spouse can grill up a slab or two of these, it goes well with the ribs. I don't have the recipe. I don't get to play with the grill much.

We said goodbye to the last of spring's spinach crop last week. I had quite a lot of it and needed to figure out a new way to prepare it, other than the dish we all love around here, spinach sauteed in butter and Parmesan. Funny how what's in season solves these issues. I had a ton of herbs ready, and spring onions. And spinach. Sounds like, yep, spanikopita.

I have not made this since before I got married. The reason is, we decided to prepare most of our own rehearsal dinner. (Don't do this, really.) Weeks ahead of the wedding, I spent hours with help, making little tiny appetizer triangles. So many, indeed, that the following recipe DOES NOT involve individual servings. I also added lemon and tons more herbs for a fresh take on the dish.

Herbed Spanikopita (Spinach and Cheese Pie)
2 lb. spinach
1 small bunch dill
1 small bunch parsley
zest of 1 lemon plus 1 tbs. juice
1 tsp. chopped mint
2 tbs. chopped chives
4 large scallions
2 eggs
8 oz. feta crumbled
8 sheets phyllo
1 tbs. olive oil plus more for brushing
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Wash and chop the spinach. Dry well in a salad spinner. Chop the scallions (spring onions) including some of the green parts, chop herbs. Heat olive oil in a saute pan. Add the onions and saute for a couple minutes. Add the spinach and toss with tongs until it just starts to all wilt. Take off the heat and place in a bowl. Do not include any liquid in the pan, and even squeeze any extra out of the spinach.

Mix the spinach with the herbs, lemon juice and zest, eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Spray a baking sheet with pan coat. Lay a sheet of phyllo out (make sure the stuff is room temp, or it will fall apart on you). Brush with olive oil (or use olive oil spray to coat) Lay on another sheet of phyllo. Repeat with four more sheets.

Add the spinach mixture in the center of the phyllo. Fold the sides in, then roll tightly (like a big burrito) with the filling inside. Bake for about 40 minutes. Serve in slices.

Weekend Herb Blogging is hosted this week by Maninas from Maninas: Food Matters.


Kalyn said...

The salad and the Spanakopita both sound great. I think white balsamic vinegar also sounds wondeful in the potato salad; hadn't thought of that before!

Congrats on the wedding too! I must have missed that (sometimes I get so far behind on my blogs, I just click "all read" on the feed reader!)

Rachel said...

Thanks for posting the spanakopita recipe, B! My crop is coming along nicely, as is the Swiss chard. As both DH and Jess adore feta cheese, this is a real winner! I'm gonna have to do this in a few weeks!

Natashya said...

I am so happy that you posted a spanakopita recipe that doesn't involve hours of making tiny triangles! This is so much better, I can't wait to try it.

Anonymous said...

Both recipes sound very tasty indeed! Many thanks for the WHB entry! :D

Anonymous said...

I might try the salad for the 4th.

Sounds great.