Posted by: dinainsuburbia | August 19, 2008

what to do with cilantro… or, quick- my cilantro is going to bolt & I need to make something…

This year is my first year gardening… well- let me rephrase that- not exactly like a huge garden.  I have 4 containers with herbs, a tomato plant, and a jalapeno plant. I never knew how absolutely difficult it was to grow cilantro.  Cilantro is EXTREMELY fast to bolt.  Now- I know this sounds fancy and I had NO idea what this meant until about 2 months ago.  At first, I noticed that one day my cilantro looked like cilantro and the next day it started to look completely different.  I was totally scratching my head and went to the internet to figure out what was going on.  Well, it was bolting! Bolting means that the plant is getting ready to go to seed & flower.  The cilantro plant completely changes and loses its flavor once this happens.  My first plant bolted before I was able to use it!  

There’s such a thing as “slow bolt” cilantro- which is the variety I got for plant #2.   I planted it about a month & a half ago and it is just starting to bolt.  Imminent bolting coupled with my vacation later this week, I figured I should just harvest and end this cilantro business.

But what to make?  I’m all salsa-ed out, so I didn’t want that.  What I had on hand was the ever-present boneless, skinless chicken breasts… 

So this is what I found on FoodTV (a Robin Miller recipe) & modified (I threw in a Jalapeno because as you saw above, I grew them this year and I have TONS of them):

pan-seared chicken w/ cilantro pesto!


• 2 tbsp olive oil, divided

• 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts seasoned w/ salt & pepper

• 3 tablespoons of pine nuts (OK, I totally have these on hand at all times- but they spoil- so my grandma taught me a trick- keep them in the freezer and they don’t get funky)

• 1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves (who has time, I threw in the tender stalks too, who could tell?)

• 1/4 cup of lowfat sour cream (I had about 1/2 of a small container and just threw the whole thing in)

• 3 cloves of garlic (as I sit here, it is STILL repeating on me- I think 1 1/2 cloves would be fine and I LOVE garlic- if it was too much for me, it would be too much for almost anyone)

• 1/2 to 1 whole jalapeno


Toast pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden brown.  Transfer nuts to food processor and combine with cilantro, sour cream, 1 tbsp oil, garlic, salt and 1/2 jalapeno pepper.  Process until smooth (you might need to add a little water to get the right pasty consistency).  I start with half the jalapeno pepper and then taste… if you want it more spicy add the other half (I did)!

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a pan (I prefer cast iron thank you very much).  Place seasoned chicken in the hot pan and brown until cooked through- 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Serve chicken with the sauce over the top.  I served this with a green salad and some cous-cous.  

Delish & Fast.. and it solved my cilantro dilemma.


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