Sauces & Rubs

By Lindsay Hunt | June 13, 2011

 

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

Cilantro is a polarizing herb. Not beloved like earthy rosemary, which conjures up a nonna in Italy making a roast leg of lamb, or fantasized about like pungent summer lavender Southern France, for some unlucky tasters, cilantro is as unpalatable as soap. If you’re like me, then a handful of verdant leaves swirled into soup or sprinkled on tacos is a blessing. 

This recipe makes no apologies for copious cilantro. In fact, it’s a love letter to the herb, dressed up as a health sauce, adorned with only high-quality extra-virgin olive oil, a little sea salt, and freshly ground pepper.

Last year, food scientist Harold McGee wrote about the widespread dislike for the herb. According to the article, the bad taste in the herb comes from aldehydes, which are also released in soap making. A 2010 Japanese study posits that crushing cilantro leaves gives an opportunity to enzymes in the leaves to break down the aldehydes into unoffending substances. If you feel left out at a dinner party because of your hatred for this herb, this recipe might change your social status forever. Then again, it might just be a delicious topping for ricotta crostini or polenta. It’s worth a try, either way.

Intrigued but can’t abide the herb? This recipe would work equally well with parsley, fresh oregano, or a blend of your favorites.

  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

Using a chef's knife, chop the cilantro until well minced. Transfer to a medium bowl and drizzle the olive oil on top of the herbs. Fold the olive oil into the herbs using a spatula. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pesto will keep in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

More about: , ,

You Might Also Like:

Featured Recipe

More Recipes

Meet the Team

About The Team

Whether it’s finding the best goat tacos in LA, spotting a well-worn vintage bag in Sweden, or interviewing the “crab man” selling seafood on a corner in Harlem, we tell stories seen from Chef Marcus Samuelsson‘s point of view. MarcusSamuelsson.com strives to create conversations about food, nutrition, culture, art, and design. We want to find Read More

Restaurants

Red Rooster Harlem
Ginny’s Supper Club
Uptown Brasserie
American Table Cafe and Bar
Kitchen and Table
American Table Brasserie and Bar
Norda
Marc Burger