I am rich in dill. This time of year, our quarter acre turns into a dill farm. The dill that has freely self-sown from last year’s crop has taken over about a third of the raised beds, with plenty of stragglers out of bounds. Nearly as tall as I am, at this time of summer the dill is decked out with gorgeous golden crowns and always seems to be sheltering a swallowtail butterfly or two. If I don’t start harvesting more intensively than I have been (a stalk here and there to snip over homemade pizza or a mound of butter-glazed pierogi), it’s going to start getting more and more bedraggled as it heads to seed.
So during a rare dry few hours in a rain-soaked week, I headed into the garden to weed, harvest garlic (that’s for another time), and get serious about bringing in the dill. I felt like a machete-wielding jungle trekker. Things had clearly gotten out of control, but in a good way. After hacking away for a while, I sat in the steaming grass and picked the fronds from the large hollow stems. It was meditative work. I got 4 cups of tightly packed leaves, which is really no mean feat. Perfect! My favorite recipe for dill pesto (by way of the good folks at Revival Homestead Supply, here) is easily doubled. Simple to make, it’s also pretty to look at, dizzying to sniff, and exquisite to eat. With a certain sour note, a certain zing that the more familiar basil variety doesn’t have, dill pesto is a multi-faceted condiment that can do many things besides dress pasta:
–Slather it on sandwiches; mix it with mayo for a better BLT
–Elevate pan-fried frozen pierogi
–Mash it into cream cheese for a quick herby spread
–Cut with olive oil and a squirt of balsamic for a bread dipping sauce
–Whisk into sour cream for an instant dip
–Top baked potatoes; make a dipping sauce for fries
–Fold into potato salad, egg salad, tuna salad
–Dollop onto scrambled eggs and shakshuka
Right now I have a jar in the fridge and a few in the freezer. By summer’s end I’ll have to put up another batch or two. What better than a burst of green on the tongue in the long gray months to remind us how rich we truly are.
(More on the deep soul of dill, here.)