Over the past few weeks, I, along with much of the rest of the world, have watched in horror as the Russian invasion of Ukraine has played out on the TV and internet right before my eyes. It’s hard to know that you can’t do much of anything other than bear witness and donate to those who do have the capacity to help. (Consider: World Central Kitchen, the International Red Cross, the International Rescue Committee, or Razom for Ukraine.) As with other times on this blog (like here and here) I feel like I can also honor the situation with my cooking. I know my dinner won’t end the war, but it’s a tiny little piece of solidarity with the Ukrainian people at this time.
This is a very easy side dish to throw together and feels just right for the cusp of spring. Despite the few ingredients, this is very flavorful, with the double punch of raw garlic and fresh dill. While you could make this with another oil, the sunflower oil is key to making this dish “Ukrainian”!
Not being the expert on Ukrainian cuisine, I’ll defer to those people. But from what I’ve read, sunflower oil is a key ingredient in Ukrainian dishes. It’s not an ingredient I’ve ever seen in a standard American big box grocery store, though I haven’t really looked… but there were about 8 different options at my local Eastern European market (look for Russian, Eastern European, or European markets). I did enjoy the taste, so I’ll believe them about the importance of this particular type of oil! The sunflower is also the unofficial (as far as I know) symbol of Ukraine, a symbol of peace, and has become symbol of resistance to the Russian invasion.
So, if you can, go grab some sunflower oil to add to your pantry. And to make this dish. Symbolic gestures may not end the war, but it’s hard to do much else from here.
Ukrainian New Potatoes
(Just barely adapted from Alex Shytsman via The Kitchn)
- 1 lb new potatoes
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh dill
- Kosher salt
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Slice any larger potatoes in half, so potatoes are all roughly the same size.
- Once water is boiling, add the potatoes and lower to a simmer. Cook for ~15 minutes, until soft but intact.
- Meanwhile, put the sunflower oil and garlic in a large bowl.
- Drain the potatoes once cooked and shake away as much excess water as possible. Add them to the bowl with the oil & garlic and toss to coat.
- Add the dill and additional salt to taste and toss again so the potatoes are uniformly coated.