I have never been keen on dipping bread in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Of course if you are fortunate enough to have some terrifically good oil or deliciously aged balsamic it makes sense, but more often than not the condiments in my cupboard are not top notch.
If you want to create a dipping experience that makes up for the imperfections of your oil,here is a perfect solution.
Dukkah. A crunchy mix of herbs, seeds and nuts that makes dipping delicious again. The original recipe is from Egypt, its name coming from the word ‘to crush ‘ or ‘to pound’ and that describes its preparation perfectly.
This simple version uses three ingredients we regularly forage for and preserve. Nettle, Wild garlic and Sumac. For this recipe they are all used in their dried form.
Wild herb Dukkah
2 tablespoons Golden linseed
3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1 heaped tablespoon dried nettle powder
1 heaped tablespoon dried garlic powder
1 Teaspoon sea salt flakes
1 Teaspoon Sumac (foraged or bought) For foraging tips see this related article.
Black pepper to taste.
Toast the seeds gently in a hot pan. Once toasted golden brown, set aside to cool. Once cool add the rest of the ingredients, put into a pestle and mortar or food processor and grind to a rough granular texture. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve with bread and good olive oil.
Dip your bread in the oil, then the Dukkah to create a delicious, crunchy aromatic crust.
Wild Garlic or nettle powder
(Nettle powder is made in the same way using just the top 4 sets of leaves from each plant. Leave the stems on until after drying and remove before crushing leaves to a powder)
For this preserve you need a large carrier bag full of leaves.
Wash and dry the leaves and chop off the stems (you can use these in a stir fry or similar). Now lay the leaves on the shelves of the oven with a large baking tray on the bottom to catch any bits. Put the oven on at a low heat 50-80 degrees C with the door open a crack. In our fan oven the leaves dry in about an hour. Periodically check the leaves and move them around if there are wet and dry patches. Once the leaves are bone dry put them in a pestle and mortar or a food processor with a sprinkling of sea salt flakes. Grind or blitz them until you have a rough powder and then store it in an airtight container. This powder is incredibly versatile and is a perfect way to have delicious wild garlic flavour all year round.