phynedyning

Phyne Dyner’s Herb Dip

In Recipies on January 31, 2012 at 11:34 am

I can’t believe I’ve failed to share this with fellow Phyne Dyners. I must be slipping…

…again.

One of our favorite weeknight suppers is a modest repast of pita, fresh fruit, an assorted bit of cheeses, a couple of bites of smoked fish, and a glass or two of (cheap) wine.

A small cruet of oil sits by each place setting, along with a small plate.

It’s time to dip!

Each summer, my garden grows a bumper crop of fresh herbs. These are carefully washed and dried. Then they are placed in zippered bags for storage in a dark, cool place. Where bruschetta and its fresh-grown toppings rule in summer, pita and dried herbs reign in the cooler months.

First, a generous spoonful of herb mix is placed on the plate. Then, the olive oil is drizzled over the herbs. The finishing touch is a minute pinch of sea salt over all of it.

Simply break the pita, dip, and eat.

The herb mix?

Let’s make some.

The recipe calls for dried “everything” and it’s really fun and rewarding if most of the dried “everything” comes from your own garden! If you forgot to grow herbs last summer, use freshly purchased dried herbs of good quality.

The anise-like flavor from the fennel seed really compliments the herbs. Sometimes, I substitute dried peppermint for a completely different flavor. Be bold and experiment a bit with combinations.

2 tsp dried basil

2 tsp dried oregano

½ tsp fennel seed

1 tsp dehydrated garlic, NOT powdered

½ tsp dried thyme

½ tsp Aleppo pepper flakes

¼ tsp ground black pepper

Having a small mortar and pestle is a real plus here. When my heads of garlic start getting long in the tooth, I peel them and cut them into pieces about 3/8 of an inch in size. I run them through my dehydrator and then bag them up. You need a mortar and pestle to crush the dried garlic into pieces just larger than a grain of sand. Powder tends to clump in the mixture and, despite being a garlic-phile I really want to get the full range of flavors from my herbs.

HINT: When drying herbs, try to leave the herb leaves fairly large. Then just before use, put them in a small sandwich bag and crush them. Crushing herbs too far ahead of time allows the volatile oils (where the flavor is) to evaporate.

After processing the garlic, turn your attention to the fennel seeds. Place them in your mortar and pestle and give them a few vigorous “grinds” to release their flavor.

Place all of the ingredients into a good quality small jar and store your dipping herbs out of sunlight.

This mixture is also outstanding as a pizza seasoning and as an herb flavoring when enjoying whole-wheat pasta and oil.

Enjoy!

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