Good Eatin’ – Culantro Pesto

Another week, another box from a food website. I’m not going to make too much of a habit of these because it would get a bit too expensive, but it means that I’ve been able to get some authentic ingredients together for my next world cooking country (which will be going up in a few days).

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Progress: 726/751Food item: Culantro

Culantro is probably one of the more annoying herbs to search for online because phone auto-correct always changes it to cilantro (or coriander leaf to the rest of us in the UK). This similarity in name is no accident. Not only do culantro and cilantro belong to the same family of plants (Apiaceae – also known as the parsley family), but they also taste remarkably similar.

The key difference between the taste of culantro and cilantro is potency. When eaten raw, the culantro has a very strong cilantro taste. However, I’m not going to just eat a plate of chopped culantro leaves – so let’s get to cooking.

Another key difference between culantro and cilantro is how well culanto can last through the cooking process. I didn’t actually cook with the culantro, but ended up making a culantro pesto with some pecorino and a fair bit of garlic.

Having eaten this pesto I really wish that culantro was more widely available –  I didn’t exactly have enough for this recipe as it is, so I had to really cut down on the spaghetti. It feels like this really is one of those herbs that could catch on in the UK if a celebrity chef really got behind it – then again there are so many things on this food list that would be worthy of wider renown.

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