I was buying some greens at a local market a few weeks ago when the man at the other side of the table looked at me through the side of his eyes and whispered, “Hey! Do you like Coriander?” He was clearly being playful as he mockingly proposed his question as if he were selling a high-value knock-off purse on the corner of any major city in the world.
I teasingly looked over both shoulders, checking to see if the coast was clear and nodded the ‘secret nod.’ His right hand thrust toward mine and he slid a bag into my open fist. “Half off. Three dollars.”
I slipped him a few coins and coyly snuck his baggy in with the rest of my veggies. I don’t think anyone saw our ‘secret’ transaction.
The leaves of fresh coriander are a milder version of the seeds (although a few seeds came along for the ride as well). It’s a strong taste; sour and almost anise-like. It’s profile lends a natural pairing to sweet or acidic combinations (or both). We’ve eaten it as part of a salad, paired with fish and as a salad all on its own.
Beyond the taste, its absolutely beautiful. Despite its bold flavor profile, it’s delicate build makes an awesome contrast. I’m not sure I would have bought it on its own but I would line up for it now that I’ve tried it.
Fresh Coriander Recipe Ideas
Here’s a bunch of ways you can use it/ things you can pair it with:
- Fresh fruit as a vibrant salad (or even added to a slaw such as this pear and apple slaw we used for fish tacos)
- Served with a jam-based vinaigrette (our blueberry maple crack would be great for this)
- Served as a bedding for fish (if you bread it, here’s a trick to make the breading stick)
- This would be fantastic with a salad of pickled beets or fresh beets (to offset the acidity of the pickles or the sweetness of the fresh)
- Contrast the salt profile of a brined pork tenderloin (you can skip the Christmas tree that’s in the recipe if ou don’t have one handy)
- Much like spinach, add it at the end of a stir fry.
- It’s strong enough to serve with pulled pork or other meats
- It would be a great condiment for cream-based soups (such as cream of mushroom)
- Toss a simple salad together with oil and citrus and toss the greens on top of these breakfast patties to make dinner.
- Served with lake trout (be sure to have a bit of fish and the greens at the same time).
What do/ would you use fresh coriander for?
Edit: Feb 15, A few people have asked on the blog and Facebook what the difference between coriander sprouts and cilantro is. These are simply young cilantro sprouts that could also be called coriander sprouts (I’ve seen it referred to as both). It’s very young cilantro that, like many sprouts, is milder than the mature leaves.