Twice as Tasty

Dill-Infused Yogurt Sauce or Dressing

Thick yogurt works as the base for a sauce or dip, and thinning with oil converts it to a dressing

By Julie Laing
Photo by Julie Laing.

After weeks of eating daily salads, most of my garden’s greens have bolted, with just arugula and some Asian varieties staying on the right side of bitter. Meanwhile, basil has bushed out and cilantro and dill are already trying to flower and form heads. So I’m transitioning from salad dressings to dips and sauces.

It’s any easy shift. The ingredients stay nearly the same and thickness becomes the defining factor. I recently made a Caesar salad dressing that came out quite thick—probably because I couldn’t resist adding more, and just a little more, home-smoked Parmesan. So I dubbed it anchovy-infused aioli and drizzled it over grilled broccoli, slathered it on grilled fresh steelhead and spread the rest on homemade sourdough bagels.

A blend of dill and yogurt works in reverse: it starts out as a sauce and can be thinned to a creamy dressing by mixing in olive oil until it pours from the jar. Without the oil, it’s thick enough to use as a dip for fresh vegetables, sourdough pita and chips, especially if made with Greek yogurt. Homemade yogurt can be drained if needed for the same use. As a sauce, serve it over grilled mushrooms or fish, use it in place of sour cream on baked potatoes or tacos and toss it with hot pasta or vegetables.

You can make this sauce with dried dill, but fresh will have a far brighter flavor. Dill grows so easily it’s worth tossing a few seeds in the garden or a deep pot for a ready supply. Just-picked dill has the strongest flavor, and regularly clipping off a few feathery fronds encourages the plant to stay leafy for weeks. This lets you pair the fresh dill with garlic scapes in early summer and whole cloves after pulling the bulbs.

If you let just one dill head set seed and disperse in the bed this fall, a new crop is almost guaranteed to pop up next spring. I can’t remember the last time I intentionally planted dill seed because it comes back so eagerly year after year.

Dill-Infused Yogurt Sauce or Dressing

Makes about 1-1/2 cups

1-1/2 cups yogurt

1 clove garlic or 2 garlic scapes, minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried dill weed

3/4 teaspoon dry mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Dash of hot sauce

About 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (optional)

In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, garlic, dill and mustard. Add salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste. Cover the bowl or transfer to an airtight container or jar. Refrigerate for one hour or more so that the flavors can blend. Taste again before serving and adjust the seasonings. Serve as is for a sauce or dip, or make a salad dressing by adding the olive oil and sealing and shaking the jar or whisking until the ingredients combine. Leftover sauce will keep in the refrigerator for about five days.

Julie Laing is a Bigfork-based cookbook author and food blogger at TwiceAsTasty.com.

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