• Volunteer dill peeks in window

    by  • April 29, 2011 • Garden, How to, Something different, Spring

    Oh, Joy!

    Dill is a versatile herb, one that I really use in cooking. First planted in 2005, I’ve never had to buy another plant. I love volunteers, but this is different! This monster dill has found a place it loves.

    Monster dill

    The Dill, looking somewhat Dr Suess-y

    This dill seeded itself next to the potted mother plant, stashed there during Fall patio cleanup. When Tractor Man isn’t tractoring, he looks out this west-facing window and the wispy feathery leaves have been growing up this early Spring to peek in at him.  They don’t call it weed for nothing.

    Some dill to cook with and some to dry

    Some dill to cook with and some to dry

    Dill is easy to grow in most every garden and it reseeds enthusiastically. You can plant it along with cucumbers but not next to tomatoes for some reason.  Deer don’t bother it.  It can grow in containers just fine. To cut it take the side fronds, an 8″ piece yeilds about a tablespoon of chopped dill for cooking.

    To dry it, cut off the smaller fronds and discard the stems, spread it out in a shallow tray or cardboard box. Cover it with cheesecloth if you leave it outside in the shade. When it feels absolutely dry you can crumble it up and keep in a small jar.

    So what can I do with my dizzying deluge of dill?  Besides drying some for later use, here are two (or more) things:

    Oven Cajun-dill Salmon with Brown rice
    This is my salmon and tartar sauce recipe and Alton Brown’s oven brown rice, the easiest, most reliable way ever to cook brown rice!  You can also add seasonings like a dry soup mix of your choice.

    Brown Rice
    1 1/2 cups brown rice
    1 T butter
    1 t salt or seasoned salt
    2 1/2 cups boiling water
    Cover and bake at 375 for 1 hour
    Lay salmon pieces in a glass pan
    Sprinkle with dried or fresh dill and Cajun seasoning
    No oil or water needed
    Put in the oven 20 minutes before the rice is done to serve them together.
    Tartar sauce
    relish to taste
    dill to taste

    This is what I made last night to serve with roast chicken and a green salad.

    Easy Cheddar-dill Bread

    Easy Cheddar-dill Bread

    Cheddar-dill Beer Bread
    While looking for dill recipes, I found this one from Alton Brown, a great cook. This bread turned out nice and soft, was fast to make, tasted great warm and was a nice savory bread that cut easily for sandwiches. I’m impressed!

    2 cups  all-purpose flour
    1 cup wheat flour
    1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
    1 Tablespoon baking powder
    1 1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried)
    1 cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
    12 ounces cold beer, ale or stout  (I used Fat Tire ale)
    1 to 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, optional

    Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat the inside of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with the nonstick spray and set aside.
    Whisk together the all-purpose flour, wheat flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and dill in a large mixing bowl. Add in the cheese and stir in the beer just to combine. Spread the batter, which will form into a ball, evenly in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the sunflower seeds, if using. (I moistened the top with beaten egg and we didn’t have sunflower seeds,  I used chopped walnuts)
    Bake on the middle rack of the oven about 45 to 55 minutes.
    Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve warm with dinner.

    Additional things to add:
    1 teaspoon dried rosemary, or
    1 teaspoon dried oregano, or
    1 teaspoon dried thyme, and 2 minced garlic cloves
    1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, 1/2 cup chopped scallions

    2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary and 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

    1 teaspoon each dried basil and oregano
    2 minced cloves of garlic, and 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan

    Lunch for Tractor Man
    Lunch for Tractor Man

    OK, so looking for more dill recipes…
    Potato salad
    Cucumber, dill and onion salad
    Sliced green onions, diced celery, carrot, and cucumbers, maybe some cubed chicken, and finely chopped dill
    Chicken, veggies and rice with dill
    Snipped dill in scrambled eggs
    Dill ricotta cheesy spread/crepe filling
    Herbed gnocchi with dill and Pecorino
    Ooooh, dill “pesto”, with olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice stuffed under the skin of a roast chicken

    Dill Cream Sauce
    For veggies, chicken or fish
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 tablespoons flour
    1 cup milk
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    Dash of pepper
    1-2 T chopped fresh dill
    Melt butter, remove from heat; add flour and mix until smooth.  Add milk and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat, add salt and pepper.

    Tuna-Dill Pasta Salad
    I recreated this recipe long ago from Take Ten, a sandwich shop near my work. It sounds like a lot of dill, but in this it’s great.  Season to your taste and add until it’s right for you.

    1 Package small shell macaroni
    2 green peppers chopped to 1/2 inch size
    1 can  tuna (in water)
    2-4 T fresh chopped or dried dill weed
    1 t Garlic Salt
    ½ cup Mayonaise (sometimes you need more)

    Boil the pasta, drain.  Pour into a big mixing bowl; add the green peppers, dill and tuna.  Add Mayo….stir and refrigerate.  Soooo good, especially in summer.


    Update: By the end of May, I have harvested most of the dill fronds and the seed heads, about 6-7 inches across are still on the plant, which has continued to grow.

    Dill seed heads

    Dill seed heads

    Harvested dill, enough for a whole lotta salmon

    Harvested dill, enough for a whole lotta salmon


    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.