Dill blossoms resemble little, yellow fireworks and their flavor is just as brilliant. A tiny pinch of this chartreuse-colored pollen adds familiar notes of citrus, menthol, and licorice to any culinary creation.
What is Dill Pollen?
Many Spice House customers are familiar with dill weed sprinkled over cured gravlax salmon, and dill seeds immersed in a jar of pickled cucumbers. Dill pollen, on the other hand, is a spice that is still flying below many cooks’ culinary radar.
As the name implies, this pollen is gathered from flowers of the dill plant, Anethum graveolens. Dill pollen is rare to find in many spice shops and grocery stores, as few farmers have the time, knowledge, and skill to harvest the delicate spice. Dill pollen lies in between dill weed and dill seed in both its flavor and form.
Dill weed is an herb that consists of the leafy parts of the dill plant. Its savory and vegetal flavor is found in familiar recipes like Tzatziki sauce, lemon-dill rice, cucumber salad, and sour cream dip.
Dill seed—technically a fruit—is a spice with a more bitter flavor that carries characteristic notes of mint and citrus. It is famously used in sauerkraut alongside its cousin caraway seed. You will also find dill seed used in Scandinavian recipes for bread and roasted vegetables.
Dill pollen's flavor and aroma are more nuanced and complex than the other two. Bright yellow flower clusters, known as umbels, are clipped from blossoming dill plants. The flowers are left out to dry before the pollen is sifted apart from the larger stems.
You will notice dill pollen has more unique and concentrated dill flavors that are floral, minty, and sweet. These flavors lend themselves well to recipes that are both sweet and savory.
Cooking with Dill Pollen
Dill pollen's flavor cooks away easily, so we recommend using this spice towards the end of the cooking process. You can also use dill pollen like you would a finishing salt for tomato soup, grilled seafood, crisp salads, and savory pastries. Even simple potato and pasta salad recipes become extraordinary side dishes with the addition of dill pollen.
Since dill pollen is a special spice that is hard to come by, we recommend enjoying it without too many competing flavors. If you are looking for some other flavors to pair with it, try spices like coriander, saffron, ginger, cardamom, fennel seed, caraway seed, and anise seed. Remember to go light with the stronger flavors, so the pollen can shine through in the overall flavor profile.
Dill pollen brings out the best in fresh vegetables. Its floral and zesty flavor is a natural pairing for carrots, cucumbers, green beans, asparagus, and seasonal mushrooms.
Dairy and cheese are outstanding canvases for dill pollen's flavor. We like using it in the recipes listed below for whipped ricotta and even gelato! Another simple way to enjoy this spice is to garnish your goat cheese with a sprinkle of pollen before placing it on a charcuterie board.
Dill pollen is an excellent accent for seafood dishes. You can follow the steps for this salmon en papillote recipe, but swap the seasoning for a heavy pinch of pollen.
Here are just a few of the more creative ways we have been enjoying dill pollen in our test kitchen. If you have any questions about dill pollen, or have a recipe you would like to share, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write us a comment below.