As we head towards June and the warmer soil of summer, many cool season crops will begin to bolt. In my garden, the spinach has already gone to seed, and my cilantro row is just starting to show the first signs of bolting. I like to harvest as much of the crop as I can, and then let it bolt and form flowers. Once it blooms, cilantro is one of the best garden companions for attracting beneficial insects.
Before it forms actual seeds (coriander), I like to pull the plants up and harvest the roots for use as Coriander Root Paste.
The result is that I end up with a ton of quite perishable cilantro that I have to use up quickly. We regularly eat South Asian food, so this recipe for Cilantro Chutney works well. We make a large batch, use some up, and then freeze the rest in ice cube trays before storing in sealed plastic bags to thaw as needed throughout the season.
Cilantro Chutney Recipe
2 cups packed cilantro leaves and tender stems, chopped
1/2 cup packed mint leaves
2-3 serrano chilies, chopped (optionally seeded for less heat)
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp sugar
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and process to a liquid state. Add a little water if needed, but try to keep the chutney thick. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Cilantro Chutney and Cheddar Palmiers
These tasty savoury nibbles are inspired by the great chef Chetna Makan, and make a fabulous tea time snack. They accompany a curry dinner well. For sweeter bites, simply swap out the cilantro chutney with Major Grey's or any other sweet chutney.
Preheat the oven to 400°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
1 sheet packaged puff pastry, thawed
1 cup coarsely grated cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten
flour for dusting
Lightly dust the work surface with flour, and gently roll out the puff pastry to approximately 13 x 10 inches. Apply a thin and even layer of cilantro chutney to the whole surface, leaving a 1 inch gap around the outer edges. Lightly press the grated cheese on top of the chutney.