A simple salad with the delightful high summer flavors of dill and smoke!
When I was growing up, my Aunt Jeanette had a marvelous stand of self-sown dill plants by the edge of her garden. Her dill was happily shared with those in the family making pickles or dilly beans this time of year. I remember how beautiful the dill looked when in bloom, and the fragrance of dill still sends me back to her bountiful garden and her kind and loving heart.
I planted a few dill starts a couple of years ago, and the plants still sew themselves in various spots in my garden. Technically a biennial, dill sews its seeds quite liberally, so if you want a lot of dill, set it out of your veggie garden so it can do its own thing on the sidelines. Give it plenty of light, and it will reward you.
The Avocado Dill Dressing is one of our favorites. I found some beautiful purple Napa cabbage at Walker’s Farms in Dummerston this past weekend, and the heads were so beautiful I saw them as a candidate for the charcoal grill, and the dill dressing volunteered to help out.
You can make the dressing as hot as you like, or use just a little dab of Sriracha, it’s up to you, but the creaminess of the avocado does tamp down the heat a bit.
The breadcrumbs add some body to the dish, and the nuts a distinct crunch. Don’t leave out the onion, it adds a special sweetness to the overall deliciousness.
This makes a lovely light lunch or supper, or add a bit of protein for a more complete meal.
Smoky, crispy, bitter, sweet, spicy, and creamy. Who could ask for anything more?
Grilled Napa Cabbage with Spicy Avocado Dill Dressing
- 1 large head Napa cabbage
- 1 sweet onion
- Olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh bread crumbs
- 1 tbsp. vegan or dairy butter
- Chopped pistachios or other nuts to garnish
- Spicy Avocado Dill Dressing, below
Prep the vegetables: Slice cabbage into four sections leaving the root end intact. Slice the onions into thick rings. Brush everything with olive oil and season both sides with salt and pepper.
Make the breadcrumbs: In a food processor, pulse one or two slices of a hearty bread until the desired consistency. In a pinch, you can use panko bread crumbs as a substitute.
Grill over charcoal for just a minute or so on each side, covered, over indirect heat. You want just a bit of char, some smoke, but the cabbage should remain relatively crisp. Remove and tent, and grill the onions, rings intact. This can also be done on a grill pan inside over high heat if the weather does not permit outside cooking. If so, sprinkle with a bit of smoked paprika. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the bread crumbs and a pinch of salt. Toss until lightly browned.
Arrange the cabbage on a serving platter and mound a bit of the breadcrumbs on each, along with the chopped nuts. Nestle the onion rings where you like, and give a last light seasoning. Serve with the dressing on the side.
Spicy Avocado Dill dressing
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1 tbsp. Sriracha sauce, more or less
- Juice and zest of one lime
- 1 tbsp. minced dillweed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup water, or so
Place everything in a blender or food processor and mix until creamy and your desired consistency. If too thick, add a bit more water.
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