The Cool House: Cilantro: Harmless Herb or Instrument of Death?*

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cilantro: Harmless Herb or Instrument of Death?*

I had no idea that so many people disliked the fragrant green herb Coriandrum sativum until I stumbled upon I Hate Cilantro, a website dedicated to supporting the fight against the "most offensive food known to man": Cilantro.
Now, I love coriander, as it is known in Europe; I use it to flavour curries and Thai soups, and once I discovered it was known as cilantro in America, in ceviche and salsas. Hell, I've been known to sprinkle it over Boston (Bibb) lettuce before now.
To some people, though, it tastes like metal, soap, or rotting corpses (I hope that last person is imagining what a putrefying carcass tastes like and isn't writing from experience). I thought the two people I know who dislike it were just being dramatic when they told me it makes them vomit but I may have judged them too harshly. It may be strange, but I react the same way to tea!
Two thousand people are anti-cilantro enough to have joined the fight and several share their stories with the internets. They hate it so much they put it on a T-shirt and proclaim it proudly to the world. I feel only pity for them, cilantro is almost impossible to avoid and to them I say: Look away.
For those who love it as much as I do a quick salsa recipe:

Fresh Cilantro Salsa
1 bunch cilantro
1 tomato, finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, more to taste, very thinly sliced, seeded if desired
2 limes, freshly squeezed
Salt, Freshly ground black pepper and a little sugar to taste

Finely chop cilantro and mix in a bowl with tomato, onion, garlic, jalapeno and lime juice. Stir to combine. Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Serve with fish, chicken, tacos, or alongside guacamole.

*For John in NJ and Fliss in BXL and cilantro/coriander haters everywhere.


Jennifer said...

Instrument of death.

Ecxept the seeds... love the seeds.

Anonymous said...

Yay for cilantro!

Your recipe makes me want to go out to my herb garden and grab a bunch right now!

Jean Martha said...

I am growing cilantro in my office and in my yard. Love it!

Marilyn said...

I have to admit, I'm one of the haters. It makes me gag, and come to think of it, it does like soap. I can't speak to the putrefied carcass thing.

That said, I'll use it in food when necessary. But I pick it off the top of my pad thai!

Anonymous said...

Love cilantro! Especially in salsa. Someday I want to have it our new garden as soon as I pull the 3 million weeds that are in there out. I'm not exagerating the previous owner abandoned the garden for 4 years.

Corey said...

I too am a cilantro nay sayer. A panera salad from years ago ruined it for me. They must have thought it was lettuce and errantly piled it on. At that time, I hadn't really had it in quantity so I nearly gagged after a large bite. While an ok flavor in very small quantities, in large amounts I find it inedible.