Pureed with a little oil and portioned into ice-cube trays, cilantro is supposed to keep in the freezer for up to nine months.
Well, it’s been more than a year since I employed a similar technique to store my garden’s cold-season cilantro before it froze on the stem. And I’m still using those little cubes, most recently in homemade salsa with garden tomatoes, chilies and garlic. That’s because cilantro sowed this past spring has long since bolted and now could only contribute to my pantry as coriander seeds.
I simply washed luxuriant bunches of cilantro and added them, still wet, to the food processor. Because, like the author of this week’s Since You Asked question, I use cilantro almost exclusively in Latin- and Asian-style dishes, I spiked the chopped leaves and stems with lime juice, which I also hoped would help to preserve color.
The herb seems as green as the day I packed it into my ice-pop molds, although the liquid that drains off during defrosting looks a bit swampy. I prefer it in soups and stews, but also would use it in an Asian-style dressing, or mayonnaise suggested in the question-and-answer column’s A la Carte installment.
Here’s a decidedly elegant recipe with a simple condiment highlighting cilantro, courtesy of McClatchy News Service. It’s ready in 40 minutes.
Lobster Cakes With Sweet and Spicy Cilantro Mayo
3 lobster tails
1 large egg
1⁄4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
2 tablespoons chopped celery leaves
1⁄2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1⁄2 to 3⁄4 cup panko breadcrumbs
Cilantro Mayo (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon canola oil
Mixed greens with favorite vinaigrette, for serving
In a steamer basket set over boiling water, place the lobster tails. Cover and cook lobster tails for 8 minutes or until shells are bright red and meat is opaque. When cool enough to handle, cut shells open using scissors and remove the meat. Coarsely chop meat.
In a medium bowl, mix together the egg, mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, scallions, celery leaves, Old Bay seasoning, salt and pepper. Fold in chopped lobster meat and the panko breadcrumbs. Mix gently trying not to break up lobster pieces. Shape into 4 patties about 1⁄2 inch thick. Place on a plate and chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile make the Cilantro Mayo.
Heat the canola oil in a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add cakes and cook about 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove from heat.
For each serving, place a bed of the mixed greens on a plate. Top with 2 cakes for a dinner portion and finish with a dollop of cilantro mayo. Makes 2 servings (4 good-size cakes).
CILANTRO MAYO: In a small bowl combine 3 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise, 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh cilantro and 1 tablespoon Asian-style sweet chili sauce; set aside.