I do not care for dill. Sorry. I just don’t. I have tried, without success. So I stand by it and take it as a fact (for now): Dill is not my herb. Period.
But dill it was, a compact bushel of it, that I recently found myself left with for that one supper. Filigree and fragrant, and way too beautiful to be ignored. The back and forth between my fascination (positive) and anticipation (negative) slowly but surely got me going. And after a few rounds of contemplating, all I had on my mind was to create a dish that featured dill in a way that (even) I could appreciate it. Hmm.
I approached the challenge by eliminating, at first. So pickles of any sorts were a no go. Same with fish. No smoked salmon, nor fresh white fish fillets allowed. While trying to figure out how to highlight the character of dill, slowly but surely I decided to rather undermine – pardon: out balance – it. And fennel immediately peeked around the corner. Grinning.
Although dill bursts with warm, sweet aromas and flavors, the herb also bears – hidden far behind and left for the finish – some cool, anise like hints. Which match the big, heavy profile of the fennel: The bulb appears cool, cooling, licorice/anise like and, yes, almost medical on both the nose and palate. Ha. I would let the fennel eat up and incorporate the dill, without interfering with it.
Waffles were the next idea that just popped up, without me even putting any effort into it. Not pasta or grains, not a soup or salad, not protein. Waffles, to be enjoyed either as a light little meal on their own, as a snack, or an accompaniment to just about anything. The simple dip I quickly whipped up with the surplus of dill and fennel greens leads to almost limitless creations: All of a sudden the dip turns into a spread and the waffles are used like bread. Sandwich, any one? Eggs Dilledict? Savory French Toast? Dilly finger food? Yes, please!
To not kill the dill – but carefully incorporate it into a complex, yet uncomplicated dish – totally paid off. The waffles were crunchy on the outside and still moist and soft on the inside, with the fennel strips adding a lovely crunch. The flavors were exactly what one would expect: Sweet and smooth at first, more and more cool and deep towards the end. The fennel turned to be out an excellent big brother of the dill. Good stuff.