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Enchanting Cilantro

by Lori Zavada

Prep Time : 15-20 minutes
Yield: serves 4 to 6

Springtime Corn Salsa


1 cup fresh steamed corn
4 large diced tomatoes
1 large diced onion
2 chopped jalapenos
3 chopped serrano chili peppers (hot – optional)
1/4 chopped yellow bell pepper
1/4 chopped green bell pepper
1/4 minced garlic clove
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped green onion
2 chopped tomatillos (without outer husk)
1 lemon (juice only)
1 tsp. white vinegar
Pinch of salt and pepper



Combine chopped ingredients. Squeeze in lemon, and add vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix. Chill for 3 hours. For an even more substantial salsa, add 1 (14 oz.) can of black beans, drained and rinsed.

Mango Salsa


2 ripe, peeled, chopped mangoes
1 medium chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 juiced lime with grated rind
Dash of salt



Mix and let chill for one hour.

Scoop up either of these salsas with a delicious corn chip or sprinkle over fish tacos, salads, nachos or other favorite recipes.

Cilantro can captivate any crowd. From the moment it hits the tongue, people disarm and are suddenly under the welcomed spell of the tender, lime-flavored leaf.

Prolifically grown in Europe, Asia and Africa, cilantro is used in hot meals, cold dishes and as an edible garnish. All it takes is one bite of the airy petiole and a low murmur permeates the room: How did you make this? What am I tasting? What is the secret to this delectable dish? Suddenly, uncomfortable introductions and nervous chit chat turn into smiles of surprise at the effect of this delicate herb. Even those who don’t necessarily have a passion for fresh ingredients are enchanted.

Also known as coriander, cilantro adapts well to other ingredients and is embedded in numerous ethnic cultures. It often lies atop a warm, comforting bowl of Vietnamese pho, a stuffed fish taco, a crisp summer salad, or lies buried in hot, savory lasagna. Traversing geographic borders, this one ingredient fills in the gaps between differences.

Cilantro answers the dilemma to a dinner party, poolside gathering, evening snack or beach picnic. It’s an ethereal peacemaker that meets all palette preferences. Allow the spirit of this slender, soft, yet flavorful herb to be the focal point of any dish, but especially fresh, light springtime snacks and meals.

Lori Zavada is a freelance writer and avid blogger living on the Gulf Coast with her husband, three dogs and two rescued cats. Visit her at lorizavada.com.

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