Yid.Dish: Dill Pesto
Right now, the dill is taking over my herb garden in its lovely, flavorful and feathery bloom. My attempts to use it don’t usually make a dent in the amount growing, even as I leave plenty to seed next year’s crop, or to share with the next interested gardener. Mostly, I have been cutting it into salads. I could also add it to butter, or make pickles, or hang some upside down to dry. The dill is everywhere, self seeding from beautiful, zebra-colored seeds given to me a few years ago by a patient who also grows startlingly lovely lavender roses.
The other day I was listening to the radio and heard someone say “dill pesto”. I perked up and quickly jotted down the ingredients: dill, cheddar cheese, scallions and walnuts. “Wow. Now we’re talking!” Pesto is one of those things that I formerly associated only with basil, which I adore in the most celebratory sense of the word. But my horizons were about to be widened. I checked out “dill pesto” on line, and found a recipe that included parmigiana, pine nuts, and garlic, in other words, dill-substituted basil pesto. That was not what I wanted. If I were to make that recipe, I would forever compare it with the basil version. The idea of a completely different set of ingredients appealed more.
I pulled out the mini-food processor (an attachment to the immersion blender, thank you, Mom and Dad) and collected my ingredients. I packed in cup dill, chunks of a piece of soft (room temperature) cheddar about 1 x 2 x 3 inches, cup pumpkin seeds (nut-free house), and 2 very small onions (1-inch diameter) that came from East Side Veggies, my local CSA. The result looked nice, but a bit dry, so I added 1 tablespoon of olive oil and set the processor awhirl again. Then I scooped the pesto into a little dish, added a small spoon, and let it sit for a while to allow the flavors to blend. An hour later, the contrast between the warm pink salmon and the kelly green pesto became a feast for our eyes, and the gentle, insistent flavor of the pesto turned our beautiful salmon, baked under a heaping pile of sliced raw onions, into a very special celebration. The leftover pesto awaits scrambled eggs this morning. Gotta go.
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