But you would be deceived.
I put this together as an afterthought when I realized that my dinner of lamb kebabs and pilaf ran the visual gamut of brown to beige. Something colorful – a preferably bright emerald – was needed to perk up the plates.
I had been sidetracked by other things while cooking, and vegetable matter had slipped my mind, so when I hastily flipped through a Chinese cookbook specializing in the Northwest, this beautiful recipe popped out at me. And, to my delight, I had everything on hand, so into the mixing bowl went everything and out came the most startlingly delicious salad I've tried in a long time.
Tossed cilantro and peanuts – 花生米拌香菜 Huāshēngmĭ bàn xiāngcài
Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer, 2 to 3 as a side salad
½ cup fried or toasted peanuts
1 bunch very fresh cilantro (see Tips)
|The main ingredients|
½ red sweet pepper
1 teaspoon regular soy sauce
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon Toasted Sesame Seeds, optional
1. If you have not prepared the peanuts yet, cook them now and let them cool off completely before mixing them with the rest of the ingredients.
2. Rinse the cilantro carefully in cold water, shake it dry, and remove any less than stellar leaves and stalks. Trim off the ends and cut the cilantro into 1-inch pieces before placing them in a mixing bowl. Trim the pepper, removing the inside ridges and seeds, and the cut the pepper into pieces about the same size as the peanuts; add this to the cilantro along with the cooled, cooked peanuts. (The salad can be made ahead of time up to this point, covered, and chilled. Toss in the dressing just before serving.)
3. Toss the cilantro, pepper, and peanuts with the rest of the ingredients; taste and adjust seasoning. Serve as an appetizer or side salad.
|Some hairy-chested sprigs|
If you really and truly cannot stand cilantro, parsley would be an admirable substitute.