Ways to Use Bunches of Cilantro

Delfino Cilantro

Delfino cilantro from the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City, Oct. 23, 2010

Cilantro Pesto [top]

About 3 cups loosely packed fresh cilantro, rinsed and dried
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ cup roasted pine nuts, walnuts, cashews or other nuts
2 cloves garlic
Juice one lime
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste

1. Strip cilantro leaves from the stems. Set the leaves aside. Coarsely chop the stems and place in food processor or a blender.

2. Add cheese, garlic, lime juice, olive oil, pepper and salt and process to a uniform consistency.

3. Add leaves and process until the leaves are coarsely chopped.

Cilantro-Pepita Dressing [top]

1 medium Anaheim chili, roasted, peeled and seeded
3 tablespoons roasted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
1 large clove garlic (or more, if desired)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or cayenne pepper)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons grated cotija cheese or other hard grating cheese
1 packed cup cilantro leaves
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons water

1. Place chili, pepitas, garlic, pepper, salt, oil, vinegar and cotija cheese in blender or food processor. Blend about 10 seconds, then add cilantro, a little at a time, until smoothly blended.

2. Place mayonnaise and water in large stainless-steel bowl and whisk until smooth. Add blended chili mixture and mix thoroughly.

3. Place in airtight container and refrigerate. Dressing may be stored up to three days. Makes about 2 cups.

Chimichurri Sauce [top]

1 packed cup fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 packed cup fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Puree all ingredients in processor. Transfer to bowl. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.)

Cilantro-Mint Chutney [top]

1/2 packed cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 packed cup fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 jalapeño chili, seeded, minced
2 tablespoons (or more) plain yogurt

1. Blend first 5 ingredients and 2 tablespoons yogurt in blender or processor. Blend in more yogurt if necessary to make smooth paste.

2. Cover and refrigerate. Chutney can be made one day ahead.

Cilantro-Mint-Tamarind Chutney [top]

1 bunch cilantro leaves
1 bunch mint leaves
1 green chili
1 oz. seedless tamarind
1 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons water
1 medium onion

1. Wash and soak tamarind in water for half an hour. Separate pulp from the tamarind and squeeze out the pulp. Clean, pick and wash the cilantro and mint.

2. Grind cilantro, mint, green chili and onion into a fine paste. Add the tamarind pulp and salt. Blend well.

3. In an airtight jar this can be refrigerated for up to one week.

Jalapeno and Cilantro Soup [top]

2 tablespoons corn oil
3 jalapenos, diced
1/2 Spanish onion, diced
1 avocado, peeled and diced
16-ounce can tomatoes in juice, diced
8 cups heavy cream
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
White pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon finely diced garlic
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro

1. Heat oil and saute jalapenos and onion. Add avocado and tomatoes and their juice and bring to a boil.

2. Add all remaining ingredients and reduce, over a happy simmer, by 25 percent. You’ll end up with about 8 to 8-1/2 cups.

3. Adjust seasonings and stir in cilantro. Serve immediately.

4. If you prepare this soup in advance, reheat in the top of a double boiler and don’t stir in the cilantro until ready to serve.

Source: Reata Restaurant, Fort Worth, Texas