My Summer Love: CilantroVersatile and vivid-tasting cilantro, the leafy part of the and spice coriander (which is instead derived from the plant’s seeds), is my favorite savory taste of summertime. All parts of the coriander plant are edible, but the it’s those lush leaves and the dried seeds are the most commonly used in cooking. calls cilantro “An herb with wide delicate lacy green leaves and a pungent flavor.” The unmistakable aromatic herb’s fragrance and flavor evokes an appetizing bouquet of crisp cut grass and ripe citrus.

To enhance the natural flavors of raw foods and vegetarian dishes, a heaping handful of fresh cilantro is invaluable. I put tons of cilantro in salads and wraps, on burgers and tacos. Tacos and Mexican food among the most common uses of cilantro’s potent flavor, which helps to make spicy and dusky flavors really pop. For an easy application of cilantro to your south of the boarder menu, and to introduce the piquant herb to more picky palates,  Martha Stewart‘s recipe for lime cilantro rice is hearty application of the herb that any beginner can take on, whether you’re preparing it or dining on it. Her rice dish makes a perfect foundation for building a burrito or to serve alongside spicy beans.  The following ingredients will get you started:

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove

In a medium saucepan, Martha’s recipe instructs, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until water is absorbed and rice is just tender, 16 to 18 minutes. Meanwhile, in a blender, combine cilantro, lime juice, oil, garlic, and 2 tablespoons water; blend until smooth. Stir into cooked rice, and fluff with a fork.

Do you prefer dried cilantro or the leafy fresh variety? What’s your favorite way to incorporate cilantro into your summertime cooking routine? — Casandra Armour

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