Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Saying Cilantro

I was going to give you a different recipe originally, but then I looked and I had already shared it – last year! So in an effort to not repeat myself just yet, Joe and I experimented a little and came up with something quite tasty. And in honor of some family members who will be spending time in Alaska salmon fishing – this is for you. But I think the recipe would be just as good with chicken or pork too, so don’t feel locked in to the salmon idea.
The main star of this show is cilantro, but the whole combination is really spectacular. The only downside would be for people who do not like cilantro, but then you have your own genetic mutations don’t you. For the rest of us with whatever gene makes us love cilantro – this recipe is the bee’s knees.

Well, I guess I shouldn’t be so cruel to people who dislike cilantro. It’s just that at a restaurant once in Long Beach, Joe and I were enjoying a little happy hour on the beach, when a woman near us started complaining about cilantro. And it was not just ordinary complaining – oh no. She felt the need to over enunciate the (perhaps) proper way to say it, with a roll of her r and everything. Seeeee-Laaahn-Trrrroh. And an accurate pronunciation is fine when you do that to everything, but imagine normal cadence, normal pronunciation peppered with Seee-Laaahn-Trrrroh every 4th or 5th word. I’ll demonstrate.
“Oh does this dish have Seeeee-Laaaaahn-Trrrrroh? Because I can’t have Seeee-Laaaahn-Trrrroh. I’m allergic to Seeee-Laaaahn-Trrroh.” The server replies that there is none. “Oh good, so I’ll have the ____ as long as there’s no Seeee-Laaaahn-Trrrroh.”
When the food arrives she looks at her plate “Excuse me, but I believe there is Seeeee-Laaaahn-Trrrrroh in this, and I can’t eat Seeee-Laaaahn-Trrrrroh.” The server removes the plate and walks past me as I am wide-eyed staring at this woman who continues to her dining-mates; “I thought there was no Seeeee-Lahhhn-Trrrroh. Because I just can’t have Seeee-Laaaahn-Trrrroh, I’m allergic to Seeee-Laaaaahn-Trrrroh.” This went on a few more times, because the server returned with the plate and assured her what she saw was parsley, but since parsley is not nearly as excruciating to say as cilantro, she did not believe him and ordered something else instead.
To this day Joe and I will always toss in one Seeee-Laaahn-Trrroh for good measure while shuddering at the memory of that dinner. Well, that and we sat near a divorcing couple where the man was very intoxicated and possibly on other drugs (he told us about the coke) who kept trying to include us in their fights. The whole evening was capped off by that same man getting injured on his bicycle after he left the restaurant and the server appearing on the restaurant’s deck with binoculars so we could watch the whole thing. Ahh yes, California, how we miss your kind of crazy.

Well, so back to the recipe. This is good. Make it.

Roasted Salmon with Cilantro Sauce
I used some Sockeye Salmon for this but I think pork chops or tenderloin or even chicken would be great, but you may have to adjust the cooking time.

For the sauce
1 bunch cilantro, including stems, washed
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 lime
Olive oil

For the Salmon
3 bell peppers, seeded and cut into strips
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 Tb olive oil
¼ tsp. ground cumin
1 firm ripe tomato
1 8oz. piece of salmon
Salt and Pepper

To prepare the sauce, put garlic, cilantro and lime juice into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse a few times to chop everything up. Then with the motor running, stream in the olive oil until well combined and creamy looking. Season with salt if needed.

Preheat oven to 400°. Toss together the peppers, onion, garlic olive oil and cumin and place in a large baking sheet. Place the piece of salmon on top and sprinkle everything with a little salt and pepper. Next, spoon some of the cilantro sauce over the salmon, coating it evenly, and spoon some onto the surrounding pepper mixture. Slice the tomato and lay the pieces on top of the salmon, sprinkle tomato with a bit of salt and pepper. Bake uncovered until salmon is cooked and the peppers and onions are softened about 20 minutes.

Serve with some of the reserved cilantro sauce.

P.S. I just got a new camera, and I am showing off the new pictures - notice how they aren't washed out with flash!


  1. It's my favorite herb, and you're right. It's delicious on salmon! I make fresh tomato salsa and fresh mango salsa in the summer, and I use tons of cilantro. I even made a cilantro pesto once. Very yummy. Nice blog and nice new camera.


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