Some people find the taste of cilantro over-powering and unbearable. Me, I love it in just about everything. The upside is cilantro is strong so a little goes a long way. The downside is a little goes a long way so it typically goes bad before I can use it. I end up throwing more than half of the bunch away each time I buy it.
I often come home inspired after eating out – if I’m really inspired, I’ll try to remake the restaurant’s dish as closely to the original as I can. This time was a little different. I ordered a sandwich at my company deli counter last week and walked away with all my cilantro problems solved. The chicken sandwich came with a cilantro pesto that was not good. However, it did give me an idea on what to do with the extra cilantro sitting in the fridge. I modified my existing recipe for basil pesto:
2 cups cilantro leaves
2 garlic cloves
1/3 cup olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp pecans, chopped
2 Tbsp pine nuts
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Put cilantro, garlic, and 2 Tbsp oil in a food processor and process until a rough paste forms. Add pecans, pine nuts, and cheese, and process until blended, stopping to scrape down sides. With processor running, slowly stream remaining oil through the top; process until smooth. The pesto will keep 5 days in the fridge or a month frozen.
The cilantro-pecan pesto works wonderfully on sandwiches and panini. It was surprisingly smooth. I was thinking the pesto might taste as if I had taken a huge bite out of a bunch of cilantro but this was not the case – the flavors of the pine nuts, pecans, garlic, cheese, and oil all come through.
This is interestingly cool! I actually never thought of using cilantro in much more than my salsa. Thanks for the idea!
Yum, one of my favorites! It’s also good with walnuts.
I’ll definitely have to try it with walnuts next time!