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Thursday, June 09, 2011

Ukrainian recipe: Dill Bread Express

Dill is a flavourful and highly nutritious herb common in Ukrainian cuisine, and other Eastern European cuisines.

In North America dill is known primarily as a herb to enhance salmon dishes, and a major ingredient of dill pickles. 

But there is so much more to dill! 

A proper Ukrainian borsch contains copious amounts of dill. Combining dill with butter and/or cream results in a most heavenly sauce for potatoes, vegetables, chicken, and/or egg dishes.

It's best fresh, of course, although in a pinch you can use dried dillweed or dill seeds. I've been noticing it more often in supermarkets lately, so if you chop it up and freeze it you can enjoy it fresh year round.

Dill has been around since ancient times, and has some amazing medicinal qualities.

It was mentioned both in the Bible and in ancient Egyptian writings. Ancient Greeks and Romans considered it a sign of wealth and also revered it for its many healing properties. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used dill in a recipe for cleaning the mouth, and soldiers in ancient times put burnt dill seeds on their wounds to promote healing

During the Medieval period, Europeans used dill to create love potions (!) and also to protect against witchcraft. People would carry a bag of dried dill over the heart as protection against hexes.

In today's world, dill protects against free radicals and carcinogens, and rivals garlic for anti-bacterial properties. It is a good source of dietary fibre, as well as minerals such as calcium, manganese, iron and magnesium.

So don't scimp on the dill! It's a delicious way to eat healthy.

Here's a quick and easy alternative to garlic bread that Sylvia shared recently on Ukrainian Food Flair on Nash Holos Ukrainian Roots Radio.

Dill Bread Express

1 loaf of French bread (or Italian)
1/2 cup soft butter
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill

Cut the loaf in half lengthwise. Mix dill with soft butter and spread generously on both cut sides. Put both sides together and wrap in foil. Bake at 400ºF for about 15 minutes. Serve warm.

This is a great make-ahead that can be frozen.


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