Are you a cilantro lover or a cilantro hater? I used to be a hater—a card-carrying member of the “cilantro tastes like soap” club. But as I got older my tastes changed. So I was really excited when, a number of years back, I was served a Spicy Cilantro Salad.
The occasion was a family picnic and my mother-in-law brought a Chinese student she worked with. He was excited to share a dish he loved—a giant bowl of cilantro accompanied by a spicy sauce. I gave it a taste, somewhat out of politeness, and was amazed at how well the hot and earthy flavors complimented each other. When the event ended, there was a lot of dressing left, tucked into my refrigerator. I hoarded it to stretch it out for months! When my supply ran out I asked for the recipe but the student had departed.
For years I searched the internet and came up with nothing. I even sometimes wondered if I imagined the dish. Then when Sriracha became popular I realized that the garlicky spicy hot sauce was very similar to the dressing—a breakthrough! I made my own version of the dish which I am sharing with you today.
Recently I stumbled across a similar salad on the internet—with the garlic and pepper chopped into the salad rather than in the dressing. I felt less crazy immediately and have plans to give this version a try. It was nice to finally learn that there are other spicy cilantro salad lovers in the world!
Are you a cilantro lover or hater? (I’ll bet the haters quit reading after the first paragraph!) As fall brings cooler days, cilantro is coming into its own. If you like cilantro and a good bit of heat, this Spicy Cilantro Salad may be your answer to a harvest windfall.
- 2 large bunches of cilantro
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
- De-stem cilantro (as much as you choose depending on how you feel about bits of stem), wash and spin dry.
- To make the dressing, combine oil, vinegar and sriracha sauce. Mix with whisk until well combined.
- Place cilantro in serving bowls, then drizzle with dressing according to taste.
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