A potato expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.
~Victor Hugo

Dill (Anethum graveolens) is a faintly anise flavored herb in the family Umbelliferae which includes carraway, cumin, and fennel, et al. Growing annually from 16″-24″ it has hollow stems and delicate, wispy leaves, demanding hot summers and lofty sunshine with well drained fertile soil.

Containing no cholesterol and low in calories, dill is rich in volatile oils as well as folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin A, ß carotene, and vitamin C. This is not to mention that dill contains minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Dill’s benefits also come from two types of healing components — monoterpenes, such as carvone, limonene, and anethofuran and flavonoids, such as kaempferol and vicenin. Needless to say, dill herb is one of the most healthy, functional foods in the chain.

Too bad dill is not consumed for these reasons in this house — scents and sapidity rule — apparently though, the benefits come from the back side. Nevertheless, both “recipes” are darlings of our kitchen…simple starch staples yet glorious (good) grub.

BOILED NEW POTATOES + DILL

1 lb various hued small, new potatoes (“B” size)
1 T sea salt

4 T (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
2 plump, fresh garlic cloves, minced

Dill leaves, fresh and chopped, in amounts to your liking (or rosemary leaves)
Truffle and salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a medium to large heavy pot, combine hand culled potatoes. Add enough cold water to cover the potatoes by about 1″ and set the pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, add salt, then reduce to a vigorous simmer. Cook potatoes just until fork tender, about 20 minutes, depending upon size.

Add butter and garlic to the pot and set over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, swirling the pan and basting as needed so that the until the potatoes are well glazed, about 5 minutes.

Tear the dill leaves, and with the pot off the heat, stir them gently into the potatoes. Add truffle and sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and serve next to resting grilled or roasted meats, greens of choice and some more unsalted butter on the table in a ramekin.

BAKED RUSSET POTATOES

4 large baking potatoes, such as russets

4 T unsalted butter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chives
Sour cream or crème fraîche

Gruyère cheese (optional)
Dill leaves, fresh and chopped (optional)
Lardons (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 F

Scrub potatoes with a brush under running, cold water, then dry well. So they do not explode in the oven, pierce the skin of each in three places with a fork.

Place the potatoes in the oven, and roast for about 1 hour, depending on the size of the potatoes, until they are fork tender.

Remove from the oven taking care not to burn fingers, slice them open down the middle, and slather with butter and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Again, put some more unsalted butter on the table for those who wish to partake.

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Twice Baked Potatoes

November 24, 2010

Twice baked, double stuffed, loaded, filled or jacket potatoes can be both rustic and elegant fare depending on the finish. Only imagination limits the outcome. For other cheeses, consider cheddars, goats, emmenthal, manchego, brie, tallegio, asiago, fontina, mozzarella, bleus. Toppings are likewise endless, including lardons, varied herbs, hams, mushrooms, curries, even caviar.

Baking an extra spud will ensure that each finished potato is stuffed to the brim.

TWICE BAKED POTATOES

2 medium to large russet potatoes, rinsed, scrubbed and dried

1 1/2 C gruyère cheese, grated and divided
1/2 C heavy whipping cream
4 T unsalted butter
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of white pepper

3 T chopped fresh chives

Preheat to 400 F

Pierce potatoes in several spots with fork. Place directly on oven rack and bake until tender but not dried out, about 45-55 minutes. Set aside and cool about 10 minutes, but handle the potatoes with oven mitts as they will still be hot. Using a serrated knife, cut potatoes in two, lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the pulp, carefully leaving the skin intact as a shell. Transfer potato flesh to large bowl and mash well until smooth. Mix in half of the gruyère cheese, cream, butter, and half of the chives. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and white pepper.

Evenly divide potato mixture among the shells. Strew the remaining cheese on top of each potato. Place potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until filling is heated through and tops have browned, about 20 minutes. Immediately sprinkle with fresh chives and then serve.

Pourboire: Should you desire some flair, only fill the potato shells two thirds of the the way. Then, using a large pastry bag fitted with a large star tip, pipe in the remainder of the potato mixture.