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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.
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.
There are other herbs that can be used, including two of my favorites: oregano and garlic chives.
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
1.5 ( 50gr) oz cream cheese or goat cheese
1 tbs fresh oregano
1 tbs fresh chives
1 tbs olive oil
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!