The ancient Greeks and Romans used dill as both a medicine and flavouring for food. It is interesting that the word ‘dill’ comes from a Saxon word meaning ‘to lull’ which reflects its traditional uses of calming the digestive system and helping with insomnia. It has also been thought to help with colds, coughs, fever, bronchitis, and even to help lower cholesterol, although more evidence is needed before making any recommendations.
The strong, tangy flavour of dill pairs beautifully with seafood and fish, potatoes, eggs, carrots, cucumber or green beans and yoghurt, and it is commonly used in pickles and salad dressings. It goes especially well with fish as seen in this crunchy, flavourful dish. Note that dill seeds can also be eaten and have a stronger flavour than the leaves. They can be used to add flavour to soups and stews or can be used crushed or whole in breads, pickles and salad dressings.
Almond and Dill crusted Hake (serves 4)
4 portions hake
Zest of 1 lemon (reserve the juice for serving)
½ cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon freshly chopped dill
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- · Pre heat oven to 180ₒC and grease a baking sheet. Place the four fish fillets on the baking sheet.
- · Combine lemon zest, chopped almonds, dill, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Spread one teaspoon mustard onto each fillet and divide the almond mixture between the four fillets pressing it into the mustard.
- · Bake the fish for 7-9 minutes or until opaque.
- · Serve drizzled with fresh lemon juice.
Note: To ‘ring the changes’ you can vary the fish that you use. Salmon and Trout also pair very well with this dill crust.