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cilantro

Pumpkin Seed-Herb Sauce

TIME: 15 MINUTES; SERVES: 1 PINT

This sauce was born from having an excess of wilting cilantro in my fridge. I was going to make zhoug, a spicy cilantro sauce that’s made with fresh jalapenos and garlic, but I wanted to beef it up to serve alongside salmon. I was looking through my assortment of seeds and nuts for pesto inspiration, and thought the toasted flavor and color of pumpkin seeds would be perfect. With further research, I discovered a traditional sauce from the Yucatan region called Sikil P’ak, taken from the Mayan words for pumpkin seed and tomatoes.

This adaptation swaps tomatoes for rehydrated, smoky chipotle peppers. I added half an avocado for extra creaminess as well. Now it’s a staple in my fridge—I eat it alongside fish, roast chicken, or slathered on veggies. It’s delicious stirred into crème fraîche for a rich accompaniment to soups or stews.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup cilantro, stems and leaves
1 cup parsley, stems and leaves
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
2 tbls. sherry vinegar
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbls. capers, drained
1/4 tsp. each ground coriander, cardamom, and cumin
1/2 avocado (opt.)
2 dried chipotle peppers, or 1 whole jalapeno pepper, seeded (opt.)
1/2 tsp. salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over the chipotle peppers and let sit for about 10 minutes to re-hydrate. Remove from the water, (but reserve water for thinning the sauce), cut in half and discard the stems and seeds. Roughly chop.

  2. While the peppers are re-hydrating, spread the pumpkin seeds evenly in a pan over medium-low heat. Toast until they start to sizzle and pop, stirring often to avoid burning. Remove from heat.

  3. Place all ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth. Adjust seasonings. Thin with the chipotle water if necessary.

  4. Spoon into a jar and drizzle olive oil on top. Will keep for 1 week in the fridge.

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Roasted Salmon & Romanesco with Cilantro-Lime Dressing

TIME: 40 MINUTES, SERVES: 6

This simple sheet-pan dinner is especially delicious in the Fall when Romanesco is at its best (and before the cilantro freezes). Feel free to substitute cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, or even sweet potatoes (adjusting the oven time accordingly).

I’ve only recently introduced seafood to my kitchen. For a long time, I’ve been ignorant to best fishing practices and so opted out of being a consumer since the industry felt so overwhelming. Sustainably harvested Sockeye salmon has become one of my favorite options. Its oily, deep red flesh is high in essential omega-3s and has a strong flavor that holds up well to roasting or grilling.

* If you eat a lot of seafood, I recommend checking out the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch for information on sustainable options. It’s important, like with any food or farming industry, to know your sources and be willing to financially support businesses that maintain our planet’s health.

INGREDIENTS
2 pounds skin-on salmon filets, cut into 6 equal servings
~6 cups romanesco, chopped into florets (1 - 2 large heads)
6 garlic cloves, peeled & smashed
2 tbls. refined avocado oil, or high-heat oil
1 tsp. cumin seed
Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes or 1/2 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tsp. lime zest
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 avocado (opt.)

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

  2. Set aside the salmon filets on a plate and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.

  3. On a large baking sheet, toss the romanesco with the garlic cloves, oil, cumin seed, salt & pepper to thoroughly coat. Spread in a single layer (use 2 sheets if necessary) and roast for 20 minutes, until slightly browned. Remove from oven and stir.

  4. Nestle the salmon filets into the veggies. Roast for another 10 minutes, until the salmon is cooked through and easily flakes, but is still slightly pink (120 degrees).

  5. While the salmon is roasting, whisk together the crushed red pepper or jalapeno slices, lime juice & zest, cilantro, olive oil, and salt to taste. If adding avocado, blend everything in either a food processor, immersion, or standing blender. If it is too thick, thin with a little water, and adjust to taste. If too sour, add some honey.

  6. To plate, place veggies and one filet on each dish and drizzle with dressing.

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Sweet Corn, Sungold, & Cilantro Salad

TIME: 15 MINUTES; SERVES: 4

In the dog days of Summer, heat can make it difficult to grow tasty salad greens. This can be bothersome because we oftentimes crave a refreshing, crunchy, raw salad when it’s so dang hot out.

Cue the “Summer Salad!” This is one of my favorites because it epitomizes everything about the season, and takes just a few minutes to prep. For a more savory spin, substitute regular ol’ red cherry tomatoes or chopped plum tomatoes for the super sweet Sungolds. If you don’t like cilantro, use basil! Parsley! Dill! I love to add a little feta in there, but this can also be 100% vegan.

INGREDIENTS

3 ears very fresh sweet corn, kernels shaved off (save cobs for stock)
1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped, or herb(s) of choice
1 pint Sungold cherry tomatoes or red cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbls. red onion or shallot, minced
1 oz. feta cheese (opt.)
Vinaigrette
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, grated
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. Dijon mustard

METHOD

  1. Mix together the vinaigrette ingredients.

  2. Gently toss together the salad ingredients.

  3. Dress with half the vinaigrette. Taste, and add more if necessary.

  4. Serve alongside grilled fish, chicken, or a couple hard boiled eggs. Or try half an avocado spritzed with lime if it’s just too dang hot.

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