Cilantro Neglect: Don’t Let it Happen to You

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More often than not, cilantro becomes a victim of what I call “Fridge Forgetfulness.” It’s something I picked up from my mother…the habit of tucking something in the crisper, or pushing it to the back of the fridge, only to rediscover it months later. At that point only a highly trained CSI team can identify the substance.

Though it’s not a crime, the results are quite criminal. After three weeks, a half-hacked bunch of cilantro transforms into a brownish-green drippy sludge creature.  It’s nasty and wasteful…not a good combination. Today I’ve got a little mischief to help you avoid the crime of cilantro neglect. It’s also a great way to knock out two dinners at once.

Two Recipes, One List:
Thai Flank Steak Salad & Mexican Flank Steak Salad

Since cilantro, limes, scallions, and tomatoes are used in both Mexican and Thai cuisine, here’s a quick way to have two completely different meals without shopping your ass off.

1 2-lb flank steak
3 limes
4 tomatoes
1 bunch scallions
snow peas or sugar snaps
1 avocado
various and sundry spices and vinegars (see below)

The Game Plan

When you get home from the grocery, divide your flank steak in half. Go ahead and marinate both steaks, and stash them in the fridge, one for tonight and the other for tomorrow. I won’t weigh you down with my Thai marinade right now, but see this old post for my mix. You can switch it up to suit your tastes. For the Mexican version, squeeze half a lime over the steak, then add 2 TBSP of red wine vinegar. Sprinkle the steak with chili powder, salt, cumin, pepper, then zest over a couple of garlic cloves. Marinate for at least an hour, then grill on medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes per side, or until done enough for you.

Thai Assembly: Chop half of the bunch of cilantro and half of the scallions, and mix it into your lettuce. Right before serving, add the dressing to the lettuce, plate it, then top with sliced flank steak, peas, tomato, and drizzle with extra dressing.

Mexican Assembly:
Repeat the cilantro and scallion trick from above. While the steak is grilling, dice an avocado and squeeze half a lime over it, adding salt and pepper to taste. In a separate bowl, make a quick vinaigrette using 1 1/2 TBSP of olive oil, 1 TBSP lime juice, 1 TBSP red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and a dash of cumin. Add to lettuce, then plate, topping lettuce with sliced flank steak, tomatoes, and avocado, finishing with dressing.

And that’s about it. You can of course add rice or beans as a side dish if needs be. Actually, we were still hungry last night after eating just the salad, so a side is probably a good idea. Don’t forget to zest your limes before slicing them for the juice…the zest is great in the marinade.

One More Tip:
Cilantro doesn’t freeze well from a looks standpoint, but it does hold its flavor. I’ve seen folks make cilantro ice cubes for stews. But here’s one trick…you can freeze the cilantro stems then thaw and finely chop to add flavor to curries and whatsuch. Just a thought. Have a great weekend! 😉

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8 Responses to “Cilantro Neglect: Don’t Let it Happen to You”

  1. Matthew Says:

    Soooo, that’s what that pile of green goo in the crisper! Love the freeze idea.

  2. Laurin Says:

    Cilantro = YUCK. http://www.bonappetit.com/blogsandforums/blogs/bafoodist/2009/02/dear-ba-foodist-cilantro-is.html

    • Josh Says:

      i know…i remembered today that you hate cilantro. we’ve got to find a way to work it into your diet slowly. 😉 hope you are doing well!

  3. Cheryl Says:

    I have started adding cilantro to a green salad with tomatoes, mushrooms, kalamata olives, cucumber and chicken tenders. I use a rasberry or red wine vinaigrette and it is delightful! The cilantro just adds great flavor.

    • Josh Says:

      That sounds tasty, Cheryl! I used to hate cilantro, but have become a big fan. Thanks so much for reading!

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  5. Cinco de Mischief Recipe Round-Up « Kitchen Mischief! Says:

    […] Mexican Flank Steak Salad This brief little recipe is from my “Cilantro Neglect: Don’t Let it Happen to You” post. You can easily swap the flank steak for chicken, pork chops, or fish fillets…whatever protein you have on hand. […]

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