Cilantro is the leaf of the young coriander plant, an herb in the parsley family, similar to anise. The seed of the cilantro plant is known as coriander. Although cilantro and coriander come from the same plant, their flavors are very different and cannot be substituted for each other. Cilantro is traditionally used in Middle Eastern, Mexican, Mediterranean, Indian, South Asian and Southeast Asian cooking. Cilantro’s taste is a fragrant mix of parsley and citrus. Store cilantro in refrigerator with cut ends in a jar of water and leaves loosely covered with a plastic bag for several days. Change water every 2 days or store in a plastic bag for a week. Cilantro matches well with avocado, chicken, fish, lamb, lentils, mayonnaise, peppers, pork, rice, salads, salsas, shellfish, tomatoes, and yogurt. Add cilantro to salsas and bean dips. Mix crushed cilantro into sour cream and use it as a topping for chili, tacos, or enchiladas. Sprinkle cilantro over stir fried vegetables for color and flavor. Add it to sesame ginger dressing when making Chinese chicken salad.
Cilantro Lime Salsa Fresca Recipe
3 large tomatoes or 5-6 plum tomatoes, diced small
1 med. white onion, diced small
1 jalapeno or other hot pepper, diced (you decide if you want to seed it or not)
juice of 2 limes, or one lemon and one lime
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt to taste
Combine everything in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate a couple of hours or overnight before serving.