It’s not just for basil.
With the spring we’ve had wild cilantro growing up a storm. It’s all over the place… growing in between the sidewalk, in the front flower beds, trying to strangle the strawberries in the back. (#2 is jealous!) We’re not entirely sure where this cilantro came from– it’s growing somewhat differently than the kind we planted a few years back that used to regenerate. This stuff tastes a bit better than our regular stuff too. It’s fresher and brighter somehow. Of course, cilantro at the restaurants has also had that extra brightness so maybe it’s just the weather.
Anyway, cilantro, like parsley, tends to start out, then shoot up, then flower, then disappear after it’s gone to seed. It’s not like basil that you can mostly leave alone, only pinching off the flowers when you think of it (that then makes new little basil seedlings if you never get around to removing the flowers). Basil lasts all summer in one form or another. Cilantro must be used!
And cilantro is great in fresh salsa, but that doesn’t use up the bounty that we’ve got. (#2 says, also fresh guacamole)
But there’s always room for pesto. Pesto is awesome with basil, but cilantro pesto is surprisingly tasty. As is parsley pesto. I’m sure there’s a ton of herb pestos I haven’t tried that are equally wonderful. (We don’t pesto our mint, but instead make tea with it.)
Here’s a recipe:
2 or more cloves garlic
3 tbsp or more nuts (I like walnuts)
4 tbsp or more Parmesan cheese
1 large bunch fresh leafy herb of your choice (give or take)
1/3 cup olive oil (or enough until easy to blend)
Whiz the garlic and nuts in a food processor. Then add Parmesan and leafy herbs. Process until a coarse puree. Pour in the olive oil and blend until smooth.
#2’s recipe calls for a lot more leafy greenness and puts the things in the food processor in a different order, but I have a bit of trouble getting the whizzing going when I use that recipe. Really it doesn’t matter how much of each ingredient you use and when you put it in, as long as you like the consistency.
Serve over pasta, with fish or chicken, on pizza, instead of mustard on a sandwich… whatever your heart desires.
Or freeze in ice cubes and pop out later when your abundance of leafy herbs is but a blissful Spring memory.
Confidential to you know who you are: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!