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Coriander (cilantro) leaf has a very distinctive, fresh lemony flavor. Blitzed with garlic, lemon juice, salt and chili it makes a great accompaniment to grilled meat. Fresh chopped coriander is essential in couscous. It also complements steamed carrots and makes a vibrant herb sauce.
The taste of coriander seed is warmer, deeper, more orange than lemon. Roasting the spice before grinding it in a pestle and mortar enhances its flavor. Coriander seed is an essential component in curry powder, but also marries well with lemon and olive oil.
For a tasty quick lunch, clean some baby leeks and slice lengthways. Place in an ovenproof dish. Toast two tablespoons of coriander seed and lightly grind them in a pestle and mortar. Sprinkle over the leeks along with sea salt and black pepper. Squeeze two lemons and add the juice to the leeks. Pour over a similar amount of olive oil and a similar amount of hot water. Cover the dish with foil and bake in a medium oven until the leeks are tender, 20-30 minutes. Leave to cool for a few minutes. Taste the cooking liquor and adjust the seasoning. Dribble a little more olive oil over and sprinkle with fresh chopped coriander leaves. Serve with fresh bread to mop up the sauce.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|