Summer brings a bounty of colorful, scent-filled delight from our garden. I am so grateful for all the rain we had in the months of May and June because it has yielded a gorgeous landscape. I will share my bumper crop Zinnia garden soon, but today we are talking dill!

An annual herb, dill is from the celery family. Both its leaves and seeds can be used in your recipes to flavor food. And dill is the eponymous ingredient in dill pickles!  Two things I love about dill – first, is the glorious scent. We planted nine packages of dill seed, first in small greenhouse trays, and once they were large enough transplanted them into the ground. I can smell the unmistakable fragrance from across the pool.  Second, dill attracts black swallowtail butterflies where they lay their eggs to feed their caterpillars. It’s magical every season to see how many big, fat juicey caterpillars visit our garden. In one day last week, we counted nine! The caterpillars munch and munch on the dill leaves, getting fatter each day.

Since we had so much dill I made Euna Mae’s Dilled Cucumber Dip from Amy Hannon’s terrific cookbook Love, Welcome, Serve: Recipes that Gather and Give. I’ve had the chance to travel with Amy when she took a group of women to Charleston for a food tour. She is funny, loving, and a terrific cook.

Photo credit: Amy Hannon

Euna Mae’s Dilled Cucumber Dip

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup whole sour cream

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

1 small shallot, minced

1 tsp. grated lemon zest (I love lemon so I add 2 tsp.)

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. granulated garlic

ground black pepper

1 English cucumber, peeled and diced

Hot sauce

In a medium bowl, stir together the yogurt, sour cream, dill, shallot, lemon zest, salt, garlic, and a pinch of pepper. Stir in the cucumber. Add a dash or two of hot sauce. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Stir before serving, and taste one more time and adjust.

I like to serve this as a sauce on top of grilled salmon. Since salmon plays well with dill, this is a delicious addition. It’s also terrific with Naan, an Indian flatbread, and pita chips.