Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dill - A Sign of Warmer Weather

Dill is my favorite herb. I just love it. I not only like the flavor, but I enjoy its association to me with warm weather. I add fresh dill to many dishes during the spring and summer. The most popular is my potato salad. I'll make it for Easter with ham and cheddar biscuits. And, I make it for nearly every cookout over the summer.

I already purchased the ingredients for my Easter meal, including the fresh dill, but I need to keep it from wilting between now and Sunday. To help, I wrap it in a damp towel and then place it in a plastic bag and keep it in the refrigerator.

So, here's my favorite potato salad recipe...

1/4 cup canola oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (use more or less, depending on your taste)
4 pounds of new potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup vinegar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
3 Tbsp of chopped fresh dill (more to taste)
2/3 to 1 cup of mayonnaise (to taste)
2 small bunches green onions, chopped

Combine oil and garlic in a bowl; set aside. Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender; probably 15 to 20 minutes. Drain potatoes and place in a large bowl.

Whisk vinegar and next three ingredients into oil mixture. Pour this over warm potatoes, tossing to coat. Cover and chill for about 8 hours.

Combine potato mixture, mayonnaise, and green onions, tossing gently. I sometimes sprinkle in just a bit more chopped dill before serving.

Alterations to the recipe - You can use any fresh or dried herb, that you like. I just happen to be fond of dill. I also change up the potatoes I use, depending on my mood or what is available. My favorite is probably new red potatoes. As the cook, you can also decide whether to peel the potatoes. Folks don't seem to mind either way.
You can also mix it up by using different varieties of vinegar. Don't feel limited to just plain white vinegar. If you don't like green onions, you can try something else to give the salad some color and a bit of texture, like carrots or celery. I don't like a heavy amount of mayonnaise, but you may, so make it to your taste.
A word of caution: I use whole-fat or low-fat mayonnaise for this salad. I've tried it with no-fat and it tasted horrible and didn't have the consistency that folks crave. If you must cut the fat, I suggest using less low-fat mayo or trying a blend of mayo and sour cream to help improve the texture and flavor.

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