Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cilantro: Love it or hate it

Doug caught me watching the “Barefoot Contessa” on the Food Network the other day. In one segment, Ina Gartner, the star of the show, was answering questions from her fans. A woman wrote that she absolutely hates cilantro, and wants to know what to use in place of it. Ina’s remark was that she, too, dislikes cilantro, and simply omits it when a recipe calls for it, or uses chopped parsley in it’s place.

Doug and I looked at each other in amazement... there is NO substitute for cilantro, and using parsley, just doesn’t cut it! Sorry Ina.

I feel sorry for people who don’t like - or can’t eat- cilantro, aka Chinese parsley. To me it’s absolutely addictive. The first time I ever ate it was at a Mexican restaurant. I couldn’t stop eating the salsa, but wasn’t sure why. There was an ingredient in the dish I couldn’t identify, yet kept me going back for more. Once I questioned the served about the salsa’s ingredient list, I realized the taste I was craving was the cilantro.

I wrote about cilantro and coriander about a year ago, and provided a recipe for cilantro-tahini dip. If you haven’t tried it, you should; it’s pretty darn tasty, if I do say so myself. If you’re wondering why I’m writing about this topic again, it’s because I just came across an interesting article, "Cilantro:The Controversial Herb", by Lynda Balslev about this very issue. The article contains several delicious-sounding recipes. Read it and let me know what you think.


  1. I love cilantro! It is my favorite summer herb from the garden, with fresh basil coming in a close second. When I make fresh herb water (bunch of fresh herbs and a slice of lemon, floated in a pitcher), cilantro takes it over the edge to sublime...

  2. LG,
    Your herb water concoction sounds simply, refreshingly, divine!

  3. Excellent article! Now I know it is the heat that has ended my cilantro growing season. I wondered why my basil and mint were doing so well but not the cilantro. I'll plant more in the fall. I'm looking forward to trying your cilantro-tahini dip.

  4. NYtimes did an interesting story on cilantro in April. To cilantro haters, it tastes like soap. (Julia Child hated cilantro. And arugula!)

  5. Gina,
    Serve the dip with your recipe for sesame seed crackers (see recipe list on the website); they'll go very well together.

    Thanks for the NY times article; quite revealing. Julia Child wasn't afraid to mince words (or garlic!).

  6. Yes, article. Just click on the words "intersting article", and it takes you right to it.

  7. Maybe this link to The Times article will work for you. You may have to see an ad first, then it goes to the story.

  8. Happy to see that young people are more computer literate than I am. Good luck to you! I think you will need it.