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04/20/2017

~ Sour Cream and Dill Dressing for Cucumber Salad ~

IMG_8196Fresh, feathery and fragile dill "leaves" or "weed".  It's a bit early for it to be available to me in my Central PA garden, but:  big, beautiful bunches of it are showing up in my grocery stores.  In Eastern European kitchens everywhere, dill, along with chives, mint and/or parsley, are commonly used to flavor all sorts of heritage dishes:  fish (like salmon or sturgeon), various soups (notably red or white borscht), many vegetables (especially carrots or potatoes), and, classic dill pickles (or anything that can be pickled).  The sweet, subtle flavor of dill is delightful in many of our ethnic vinaigrettes, dressings, sauces, dips and spreads, and, it's even used to make a savory compound "dill butter", which dreamily spreads over or melts into almost anything.  Sigh.

IMG_8159While dill is native to Central and Eastern Europe, it's grown all over Scandinavia (Northern Europe) and Eurasia too, where its leaves and seeds are used as an herb or spice in  Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, Lao, Arabian, Indian and Iranian cuisines too (to name a few from a long list).  

There are many variations to the Eastern European (Russian) sour-creamy dill dressing I am making today, but two things are common to IMG_8203all:  Fresh dill is used because the dried herb loses its flavor rapidly, and, the cool and creamy dressing is classically used to dress cucumbers and/or tomatoes freshly-picked from the Summer garden.  I drizzle the dressing over the cucumbers or tomatoes at serving time.  The common practice is to stir in enough dressing to enrobe them. In my opinion, the common practice alternative, no matter how judicious one is with the dressing, generally renders an over-dressed salad, plus, cucumbers and tomatoes (which lose their textural integrity quickly -- within 10-15 minutes), renders the dressing watery.  It's silly to do that.

My way renders perfectly-dressed, pretty-to-look-at cucumber or tomato side-salads.

IMG_8174For 1 cup dressing:

1  cup sour cream

2  teaspoons lemon juice, fresh or high-quality organic juice not from concentrate

1  teaspoon dried, minced garlic

1  teaspoon dried, minced onion

1  teaspoon coarsely-ground black pepper

1/2  teaspoon sea salt

3-4  tablespoons minced-fresh dill leaves, or more, to your liking

IMG_8167 IMG_8177 IMG_8175 IMG_8180~Step 1.  In a medium bowl, stir together the  sour cream, lemon juice, garlic, onion, pepper and salt.  Mince the dill and stir it in.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight.  

Dollop 2 tablespoons dressing over each 1/2-3/4 cup salad. 

IMG_8199It's a tasty dressing for a classic chef salad too:

IMG_8271Sour Cream and Dill Dressing for Cucumber Salad:  Recipe yields 1 cup dressing/enough to dress 8, 1/2-cup side-salads.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; spoon; 1-cup food storage container with tight-fitting lid

IMG_8049Cook's Note:  When I've got lots of dill, one of my favorite things to make is ~ Mel's Petite Porketta for Joe's Jessup Sandwiches ~ (pork stuffed w/a mix of dill and garlic. Today's salad(s) are a wonderful accompaniment to them.  Get my recipe in Category 2, 3, 10 12 or 17.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2017)

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