I love fresh tomatoes! I love onions! I love freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice!! I love cilantro!! But at one time in my life, cilantro was definitely on my YUK list!! I remember first trying cilantro when I was probably around 16 years old and thought it was one of the nastiest tasting things I had ever tasted! It was in a salsa and I thought something had to be wrong with it. I mean how could anyone intentionally want to eat something so gross!! LOL
For many years after that I made a very conscious effort to avoid anything that had cilantro in it! But as the years went by and I began to be around more and more authentic Mexican cuisine, I began to *SLOWLY* develop a taste for this tasty green leave. I was amazed at how if it was blended right and not over powering in a dish, I could actually appreciate the citrusy taste of it in many dishes.
The dish though that turned me into a tried and true fan of cilantro though was Pico de Gallo. I remember having it on tacos de carne asada and all the flavors melded so wonderfully together! I quickly learned how to make this wonderful dish and there was no turning back for me! I have been a tried and true cilantro fan ever since. Now I have to admit that there were a few times in the beginning that I bought what I thought was cilantro, only to get it home and find out it was parsley! :) After a few times of becoming quite embarrassed for buying the wrong thing, I quickly learned how to distinguish between the shape of the leaves and the smell. Over the years I have learned to use it in many other dishes and truly love the smell of freshly chopped cilantro.
But by far and wide my favorite recipe using cilantro is still in making Pico De Gallo. It is the simplest of recipes, but brings such great joy and appreciation of such simple foods mixed together. Freshly diced tomatoes, crisply diced white onions, freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice, a sprinkle of salt and the oh so aromatic cilantro!! Now while many people add diced jalapenos to this, I stopped adding them to mine many years ago because my oldest could not handle the heat. But I think we have come to enjoy the fresh vibrant flavors much more without the added heat. I feel blessed having passed down to my daughters the love for Pico de Gallo and they have now passed it down to their children. Making family traditions over such small things can bring great memories on down the line. My family loves it on carne asada tacos, tostadas, in burritos or on nachos and also just plain as a dip with tortilla chips. Such a basic, simple recipe, but full of pure flavor and joy!