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December 17, 2007
Don’t Overlook Dill, Even if Dill Likes It That Way
Most people go about their day without once thinking of dill. While this
might be surprising if we were talking about going through one’s day
without giving one thought to world peace, the decline of the orangutan
or unadopted children, the fact that dill goes overlooked is
appropriate. In fact, there is good reason to think that dill prefers it
Dill is a subtle, sweet herb whose traits are largely overlooked in a
flash-in-the-pan society that favors flash-in-the-pan flavors of the
month, like the strong and sometimes obnoxious cilantro or blackening
Most of us associate dill with the pickle, an old timey lunch garnish
that harkens back to the day of barrels that shopkeepers set a checkers
board on while they smoked a pipe. It is also acknowledged as something
that can spruce up tuna salad, cottage cheese or various potato-related
also serves as a good flavoring for seafood, which provides an easy
segue into the use of dill to flavor pasta (when combined with butter,
in fact, it turns a bowl of buttered noodles into an excuse to raise
one’s fork in salute to the chef – huzzah!).
Start with cooked, peeled shrimp and a packet of imitation crab. You
will know this imitation crab by its name, chiefly because some crafty
wag long ago understood that K and C can be interchanged, and that only
the most unobservant won’t notice that what they’re actually paying for
is colored and flavored fish chunks processed into something resembling
Heat in olive oil, chopped onions and pressed garlic. You will want to
do this slowly, so as not to dry out the shrimp.
Once flavors have begun to gently meld together, add chunks of broccoli,
then cover. This will trap steam that will soften the broccoli and keep
While this takes place, boil pasta. Choice is important. Choose wrong,
and you will suffer.
will want something short to represent the chunked nature of the seafood
and broccoli, and you will want something for which the sauce isn’t
expected to penetrate an internal chamber. This leaves spaghetti and
penne out. It leaves in farfalle.
Boil a box of farfalle for 8-10 minutes, which is about as much time as
the broccoli will require. Drain and add to the pan, turning it over and
over until the pasta and seafood contribution is mixed.
We’ve gotten nearly to the end of this, and you may have forgotten that
we started this journey with dill. Good, dill says, I prefer to go
now is the time to put our overly modest friend to work. Because it is
delicate, it should be added towards the end.
Stir it in, and it will take on a lustrous green look as it heats. It’s
subtle sweetness will provide a nice complement to the processed, fake
crab. You will say, “Dill, where have you been all my life?”
“Over on the counter, sir,” it will respond, “just where I prefer to
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