Hi there Friends and Fans of ESH! Today, Lettuce Chat about a quite polarizing topic— cilantro. Cilantro is one of those herbs that people either like or hate. There is usually very little in-between. I've personally never heard of anyone who lives in that grey area of "cilantro is neither here nor there", but then again, my scope of the world is small and limited. Maybe you are one of those rare, wonderful "in-betweeners" (I know that's not proper grammar).
If you google up cilantro, you will find many other blogs out there with pretty great information. Most of them mention a genetics factor in the like/hate polarization of cilantro, detailing its flavor as citrusy or lemony to some, and soapy to others. Because they do such a great job of detailing that, I will leave it to the other bloggers.
Cilantro comes from ancient days, and the whole plant can been used, even the seeds. You've heard of coriander seeds (the seed form is termed "spice"). The leaves and stems are all useful, and are used raw and cooked into dishes, as is the spice. Cilantro contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, and is sometimes used medicinally. Coriander has a different flavor than cilantro, and both are so delicious. (I'm on the "like" end of the spectrum.)
Cilantro comes in handy in every type of cuisine around the world. My personal favorite use is in pico de gallo and salsa. That famous, super delicious, excellent go-with that you find in Mexican cuisine. Tomato, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime, YUM! Is it a topping? A condiment? An appetizer? It's all of the above, and it's absolutely one of my favorites. (I'll put it on almost anything except cereal!) But for what other purpose can you use cilantro? There are so many out there, so let's explore a few.
Cilantro (or coriander) is used in curries, pickling, salsas, salads, chilis, chutneys, pestos, dips, dressings, as a garnish, and sometimes even in beer. Raw cilantro is more noticeable and flavorful, while cooked cilantro adds a different and more subtle flavor character to your dish. Coriander's flavor is magnified as it cooks. Alicia has an amazing recipe for pesto that includes our very own ESH cilantro.
ESH cilantro is a very special cilantro. We call it confetti cilantro. And if you dare to ask The Lettuce Lady which cilantro we grow, you will not get the specific answer you are just itching to know. Our Lettuce Lady is a vault, locked down, and we are all sworn to secrecy. So, confetti cilantro it is. When you look at one of our living cilantro plants, you could very easily mistake it for dill. That is a very common occurrence. It does look strikingly like dill. But looks can be deceiving, and once you catch a whiff of the plant, you know it is very clearly cilantro. The smell is distinctive and telling. And even though the leaves are tiny, they are quite pungent and robust in flavor. We have customers tell us that it is the best cilantro they have used. (Thank you for giving us that!)
Friends and Fans, that's about all I can give you on cilantro. Like it or not, we sum it up as versatile in every cuisine in the world, and a nutritious addition to your dish. Give it a whirl in your next cooking adventure, but note that a little bit goes a long way. Your dish will thank you!