Tomato Olive Salsa: No Cilantro Allowed! (Okay, you can add it)

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It is well established in the Herb Blogging community that I do not have the cilantro gene.  I have the 'OMG, what the H### was that!?!' gene.

The first time I tasted cilantro was in a salad.  It was back in the days of gainful employment and I was spending a few days R&R at a health spa.  I'm sitting at a large table of equally stressed out, "I'm getting in shape in 4 days or die trying" types .  I put a forkful of, what appeared to be a lovely salad, into my mouth and gagged.  I looked around the table.  Everyone else was oohing and aahing over their bowl of greens.  I started demanding asking if no one else had this horrible stuff in their salad that was clearly inedible, or if I had been singled out by some bizarre cosmic joker.  After a careful elimination process I isolated the culprit.  It's cilantro my table mates exclaimed!  'Isn't it wonderful?' they gushed.  'Don't you just adore it?' they cooed.  Once I made it clear that I was, shall we say, less than enthralled with it, they left me in peace…for the remainder of my stay. Aaweekendherbblogging

Welcome to Weekend Herb Blogging where, once again, I am the only person who does not love cilantro.

This event was founded by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen, who, I might add, is crazy about the stuff!

Why am I talking about cilantro when it is clearly not part of my kitchen garden?  To let the rest of the very small minority of the population without the gene know that Salsa can be made without it. 
It can.
There are other herbs that can be used, including two of my favorites: oregano and garlic chives.

Fresh Tomato and Olive Salsa

2 fresh, ripe tomatoes
2 tbs fresh oregano
1 tbs fresh chives
1/3 cup pitted green olives
1/2  – 1 tsp chili powder
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs Balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp sea salt

Roughly chop tomatoes.  Cut olives in half.  Snip herbs.  Put oil, vinegar and salt in small bowl, whisk to combine.  Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

I do make spicier salsas with chilies, but this one is simple, very fresh tasting and emphasizes the herbs.
Oregano is a perennial, Mediterranean herb  most commonly used dried, on pizzas, but is wonderful fresh; whole leaves tossed in salads, omelets, or salsas.  It's full of antioxidants and vitamins.  Try substituting for basil in anything.
Garlic chives, as a member of the allium family, have similar health benefits to onions and garlic, but a milder taste; perfect for adding raw to almost anything.  Both are easy to grow in most climates and soils.

Next question:  What do I eat the Fresh Tomato and Olive Salsa with?  My favorite is fish, specifically swordfish or tuna.  It's also good with egg dishes.  As my camera battery died before the fish was done I have no photo of the Grilled Swordfish – which was lovely, I might add.
But the next night I served the remaining salsa with mini frittatas for a starter.

Salami and Cream Cheese Mini Frittatas

1 oz (30gr) salami
3 eggs
1.5 ( 50gr) oz cream cheese or goat cheese
1 tbs fresh oregano
1 tbs fresh chives
1 tbs olive oil
butter/cooking spray
Tomato Olive Salsa

Roughly chop salami.  Butter or spray a non-stick muffin (tartlet) pan – one that holds 6 or use a silicone pan.  Divide salami and place in muffin cups.  Divide cheese and place on top of salami, a cube is okay.  Snip herbs and divide between cups.  Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk well.  Using a ladle or spoon divide eggs evenly between the muffin cups.  Bake at 400F (200C) for 12 – 15 minutes or until set.

This Weekend Herb Blogging is being hosted by Rachel of Rachel's Bite.  Please stop by her blog on Monday to catch all of the great recipes from foodies around the world.

Note to all cilantro lovers:  I did not mean to disparage your beloved herb.  Actually, I intend to give it another try next time I have the chance… maybe my taste buds are ready for something new!  Trust me, when I do try it—you'll hear about it!

15 thoughts on “Tomato Olive Salsa: No Cilantro Allowed! (Okay, you can add it)”

  1. I definitively have the “Who left the soap in the dish”-gene:-). And I am not alone! Every Friday there is a cook show on German TV and the host always gets an extra portion without cilantro. There a only two possibilities with cilantro: Hate it or love it. Nothing in between.

  2. Sorry to hear you have not been blessed with the cilantro. Ulrike and Ilva are also similarly cursed. More cilantro for the rest of us! (Ok, all that was a joke. I’ll be interested to hear if you can “learn” to like it. I’m not so sure. When I was catering houseboat trips, it was the one ingredient I learned you can not sneak by people, and I always asked so I could make a version of whatever it was sans cilantro for those who have the anti-cilantro gene!)
    I do think tomato olive salsa with fresh oregano sounds quite heavenly, and I love the idea of pairing it with fish.

  3. How funny – my entry for this week’s WHB was an ode to my love for cilantro 🙂
    I love your salsa – it sounds incredibly fresh! With the weather so warm these days, I’m all about fresh foods.

  4. Kalyn, I have no idea, but I’m so intrigued by this ‘gene’ theory that I have to try it!
    Ulrike, glad to know I’m not alone…
    Shawnda, I saw that – it’s what got me thinking…
    Lydia, I love this – anti-cilantro people are coming out all over the place LOL

  5. I also adore it–but I think this genetic reaction is fascinating. I wonder if there are other herbs that affect people the same way? And I love your salsa.

  6. Truffle, do you like/tolerate it now? Does that mean one gets over it? Or ‘learns’ to like it?
    Sher, yeah, who would have thought cilantro and genetics….
    Betty, I thought I was a minority ov one!
    I’m not alone anymore….sigh

  7. OH, my goodness. You have me with this one. And what do you know? I just bought and planted some Greek oregano.
    Eons ago, when I first tasted something with cilantro in it, my reaction was that it tasted like soap! I hated it. But for some reason, it grew on me, and now I’m one of those people who LOVE it. Can’t grow it, though. It always goes to seed before I get anything much from the plant. So I buy it.
    But enough about cilantro!

  8. How fun that I should read my first of your posts on a day when you, a fellow cilantro hater, posted about that herb! I call it “soapwort” and offer my share to anyone at the table who likes it! <>. Thanks for reassuring me that I’m not the only one in the world who doesn’t like soapwort.

  9. well, I do enjoy cilantro`there are a few of us out there….soapwart, got to love that name!I think this is something that just needs time to get to know your taste buds~great post again!

  10. Pam, trust me…You are not alone! Soapwort – I like that name. Thanks for stopping by!
    Jann, we’ll see! Next time I see it… but I don’t run into a lot here…. Hmmmmm..

  11. I love it when I find out that, hello, I am not the only one on this planet who loathes cilantro.
    And I cannot BEGIN to thank you enough for sharing your salsa recipe with me – especially since I only recently learned that my m-i-l hates, hates HATES oregano – I mean, can you IMAGINE an Italian hoagie without it? My f-i-l wanted to plant it in their yard because he heard it brings in the butterflies and she threw a fit!
    Karen in DE, running out right after work to buy garlic chives and oregano plants! Too bad I have to wait another week or so for the real Jersey field tomatoes – time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking . . .

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