I have to confess. growing up I always affiliated with the anti-cilantro party, much to my mother’s disapproval. It wasn’t my fault, I was told, as some people are just born with the cilantro-tastes-like-soap gene.
But then one mysterious day about two years ago, my taste buds did a 180. I didn’t gag when a cilantro leaf made its way across my tongue. It was an unfamiliar flavor, for sure, but… did I like it?
Turns out from then on I was a convert, my ideals finally aligned with my mother’s, and she could wholeheartedly love me once again. A happily ever after for me and cilantro, but I still owe it to him to make up for all those lost years. So here’s what I do:
1. Attempt to grow it, and if the squirrels dig through your pot to steal every last seed (really, squirrels?), then resort to the grocery store or farmer’s market.
2. Make this cilantro-lime pesto.
3. Put it on everything.
..maybe not desserts though.
4. Mix it into Greek yogurt with some cayenne or hot sauce to make an awesome dip for fried plantains or sweet potato fries!
5. Slather it on pizza dough and top with grilled shrimp, mozzarella, and more cilantro leaves, like so. This is what I have planned for our next rendezvous.
I think I’ve done a pretty nice job embracing my long-neglected herb. Any suggestions for me? How do you spend your time with cilantro? If you happen to be one of the “haters,” I suggest trying this pesto. Studies say that crushing the leaves can rid of the soap aroma and lend a more mild taste. Then take it slow, one tastebud at a time, and develop your relationship from there. Love is patient, Love is kind.
Cilantro-lime pesto, adapted from here
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
- 2 T almond meal/ground almonds
- 2 T chopped, fresh garlic
- 1 T lime juice
- 2 T nutritional yeast (if you’d rather, use parmesan, Romano or asiago cheese)
- 1/4 t kosher salt
- 3 T vegetable (or chicken) broth
Using a blender, mix together the cilantro, olive oil, almond meal, garlic, lime juice, nutritional yeast, salt and broth on low speed for 2 minutes. To make a thicker dip or spread, blend in more almond meal and/or cilantro; to make a thinner sauce, add more broth. Keeps in a jar in the fridge for a pretty long while.