Cilantro all Summer

4 07 2010

Some people really don’t like cilantro, we love it. Not related, but our favourite restaurant in Calgary is Cilantro’s, how cute. Anyhow, cilantro grows up so fast, especially if you buy the little plants like I do to create two big baskets of herbs each year. I get mine from Planet Organic and they have done well the last few years. However, I usually use bits of cilantro as it grows then it goes to seed by mid-July. It’s a bummer cause once it’s seeded it’s done. You can dry the seeds, which is coriander, but this year I opted to see if I can use the cilantro in all it’s glory.

I cut the cilantro back today. I heard that if you leave a few inches of cut cilantro stems before it goes to seed it might produce again, i’ll see about that, not convinced. Of course I cut the cilantro back and then decided to do more research online. I wanted to know drying and freezing methods. It’s a finicky herb and doesn’t preserve well at all, it looses it’s oomph of flavour and tends to go dark. Most blogs say ‘just buy fresh’. I agree, but on those days you are whipping up guacamole and you’re like ‘I wish I had some cilantro’ there had to be a way to do it well. Besides, I have dried cilantro, flavour is a bit dull, but it works in a bind.

Try I must. The best and most logical instruction I found was to chop the cilantro, stems and all, place in an ice cube tray, dash of lemon juice and a bit of water. Other options were to freeze in oil and lemon juice, water on it’s own or puree with onions and garlic and lime juice. I opted for the simplest since I wasn’t always sure what all I’d use it for. The lemon juice should help preserve the green colour.

Chopping the cilantro with the mezzaluna. If you don’t have one, get one, great for herbs, fast and less mess.

Chopped cilantro in the freezing tray. I used an egg tray since our fridge didn’t come with ice cube trays, it has an ice maker. 🙂 Only put enough water to come to the surface of the cilantro. I added 1 tbsp of chopped cilantro to each round, 1 tbsp lemon juice split between the five rounds and a touch of water to each.

Frozen half-spheres of cilantro, throw them into a freezer bag until the time is right.

I also came across this recipe for Lime-Chipotle Sauce, I used it to marinade wild pacific halibut, served it with a salad and fresh guacamole. We followed our Sunday dinner up with fresh Saskatoon berry pie we bought from the Kingsland Farmers Market. Joseph promised us that his pie was all fruit and 50% less sugar, it weighed a kilo! KFM is Calgary’s fourth all year market, we couldn’t be happier. If you live near by, check it out but remember to support Planet for all other things organic….the big guys will be okay. 😉

1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons minced canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce (If you buy a small can of chipotle chilies, use what you need and freeze. I have used the same can in 4 recipes already)
3 tablespoons brown mustard (or dijon)
1/2 cup lime juice (lime juice will cook fish, so don’t marinade for too long)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (optional, I left it out)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Season with salt and pepper

Blend in food processor. Use sauce as a marinade for grilled meats, poultry, and fish or serve with tortilla chips. Makes 1 1/2 cups. I used 1/2 cup on the fish and froze the other cup in two 1/2 cup measures. We grilled the fish in tinfoil.

Cilantro all summer long…

Eat Well, Be Well,

Nat

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2 responses

5 07 2010
Lenore @ Lather. Write. Repeat.

Ah, I remember your fond love of Cilantro’s! I love cilantro too, thanks for the tips on storage and the recipe!

XO
Lenore

16 07 2010
Heather

Hey Nat!! hate to be a pest, but need some ideas for quick healthy summer lunches at work. I’m tired of gazpacho and salad… thoughts???
mwah, h.

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