By Laura Coffee, Marketing and Owner Services Manager, Co-op Owner
This month’s spice is coriander. Coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant. Despite being the same plant, the flavor of coriander seems to be much less controversial than the flavor of fresh cilantro. Coriander seeds, whole or ground, have a pleasantly warm and savory taste that many people describe as slightly citrusy. When you cook it the savoriness is more pronounced and the aromatic citrus quality is less apparent. Coriander and cilantro cannot be used interchangeably, but the seeds have many culinary uses of their own.
Simple Coriander Sauce
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 Tbsp butter or vegan alternative
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in cornstarch, coriander, and onion powder until well combined. It will not seem at all thick at this point, that is normal. Slowly add in the broth, whisking constantly as you do. The sauce should begin to thicken and bubble almost immediately. If it does not, turn up the heat just a little and keep whisking. Once the sauce has thickened you can remove it from the heat. I served this over chicken and rice garnished with thinly sliced green onions. It also works well over mushrooms, roasted vegetables, or tossed with pasta instead of rice. So long as you whisk thoroughly it will have a lovely silky texture and a rich, savory flavor. For an even stronger flavor, you can also try adding a 1/4 teaspoon of cumin along with the other spices.
Avocado Coriander Spread
- 1 ripe avocado
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice*
- 1 1/4 tsp coriander
- 1/4 tsp salt
This one is really simple, but very versatile when it is done. Start by cutting the avocado in half and removing the pit and peel. Cut the avocado into small pieces in a bowl with a butter knife. Add the other ingredients and continue cutting them together until mostly uniform. At this point you can whisk by hand until the spread is relatively smooth.** Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the spread to prevent browning and allow to rest for 30 minutes or so to let the flavors blend. The finished spread is great for sandwiches, wraps, salads (thin slightly with water), or even as a dip for vegetables or pita.
*If you have a citrus allergy you can substitute apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar.
**If you prefer a completely smooth spread you can combine all ingredients in a bullet blender instead of whisking. This will result in a final texture that is very similar to mayonnaise.