Cilantro (Sih-LAHN-troh), also known as coriander, Mexican Parsley or Chinese parsley, is a wonderful, delicate year-round herb, thought to be an aphrodisiac and have healing properties, and adds great flavor to a variety of foods.
Cilantro is the leaf of the plant while coriander, from the same plant, is the seed and has a very different flavor. One cannot be substituted for the other, though some countries refer to cilantro as coriander, so when recipes call for fresh coriander or coriander leaves, they are referring to the cilantro leaf.
Dishes made from the Cilantro plant, whether in the form of leaves as cilantro or seeds as coriander, are commonly found in a variety of cuisines including Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Indian, South Asian, Mexican, Latin American, Chinese, African and Southeast Asian. Culantro, an herb related to cilantro, is widely used throughout the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Far East.
Fresh herbs really have the best aroma and flavor, so look for fresh cilantro in your supermarket produce department, sold in bunches similar to flat-leaf parsley. Look for unwilted leaves that are medium green in color. Cilantro can be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to a week and should be washed in cool water and patted dry before use. Roll a bunch, stems and all and chop into small pieces.
Try some cilantro today….
- Roll goat cheese in chopped cilantro
- Use cilantro leaves instead of basil in tomato-mozarella salad
- Sprinkle 1tbsp chopped cilantro over scrambled eggs
- Add a few leaves to grilled cheese sandwiches
- Use a bunch as a brush to baste veggies on the grill
- Garnish Bloody Mary’s with a whole sprig or two
- Use in marinades for chicken, fish, shellfish, lamb, and pork
- Use in salsas and in sauces such as pesto, chutney, and tzaziki