Those who love cilantro love it a lot and those who hate it- many very accomplished foodies among them- cannot stand the herb. Even culinary icon Julia Child publicly vocalized her distaste for the leafy green. In a 2002 Larry King interview, Child (hilariously) stated that if some cilantro showed up in one of her meals she “would pick it out… and throw it on the floor.”
Not just pick it out. Throw it on the floor. SCREW YOU, CILANTRO. TAKE THAT! (stomp stomp stomp)
Y’ouch. This is what I’m talking about- people who don’t like cilantro really, really don’t like it.
If you have one such person in your life, however, I wouldn’t bug them too much to ‘try and learn to like it’- it has recently been discovered that there is a genetic component to disliking cilantro. 80-90% of us taste something fresh and herbaceous and delicious and the rest, I understand, taste something akin to soap. Yuck, no wonder they are so loud and vehement in their dislike.
Luckily, I lack said gene. I love cilantro. I am on Team Cilantro.
I have also been trying to cut down on my meat consumption recently. I don’t eat a lot of meat, but I do struggle to go full-vegetarian. Still, for both moral and sustainability reasons, if I can go meat free most of the time, I figure every little bit helps, right?
So, cilantro and tofu. Two polarizing foods. Oh man, you guys are going to either love or hate this post. Here, let me give you some reasons to love it…
I used regular spaghetti noodles the first time I made it, soba the second and spiralized zucchini the third. Each is amazing in it’s own way, but I think I liked the soba the best. And yes, I like this dish with the noodles cold and the crispy tofu warm. Something about having slightly chilled noodles during the summer, tossed in something so vibrant and fresh tasting- I love the contrasting flavours, temperatures and textures. It’s perfect sunny day food and it will thoroughly satisfy without weighing you down.
|Chilled Noodles with Cilantro Pesto & Crispy Fried Tofu|| |
- Cilantro Pesto:
- 3 cups packed fresh cilantro, rinsed and dried
- 3 medium garlic cloves
- ¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- ⅛ cup blanched almonds
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and de-veined
- 2 Tbsp lime juice + zest of 1 lime
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Soba noodles, regular spaghetti or spiralized zucchini
- 1 brick firm tofu, sliced into strips
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Grapeseed oil
- Place all pesto ingredients in a food processor and blitz up until the mixture forms a paste, scraping down the sides as needed. Taste for seasoning and salt as needed.
- Heat a glug of grapeseed oil in a large pan. Add strips of tofu and cook for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned then flip and brown the other side. Drain on a piece of paper towel and season fried tofu with salt and pepper.
- Cook soba or spaghetti according to package instructions then rinse with cold water. This stops the noodles from cooking and also cools them down- I don't know why cilantro pesto tastes so much better on cool noodles, but it does. Yum! Toss rinsed noodles with a couple tablespoons of pesto and serve with fried tofu spinkled on top.