A couple years ago I read an unintentionally hilarious interview with Ruth Reichl, in which she talked, among other things, about her recent travels in Laos (lucky duck). She mentioned people there rarely wasted food and that for many ant eggs were a major source of protein. Her takeaway from the trip? Afterwards she felt bad throwing away parsley stems.
Well Ruth, if you feel the same way about cilantro stems, this one’s for you. I’m a cilantro lover, so I end up with plenty of stems on a weekly basis. Sure, I throw some in with the leaves when I make salsa, but it never occurred to me that they could be great on their own. And great they are. They’re flavorful and keep a slight crunch. These shrimp would be great in a nice, warm tortilla as an appetizer, but I also loved it over a fresh green rice (I’ll be sure to post a green rice recipe later this week).
Creamy Shrimp with Cilantro Stems
Yield: 4 servings
* 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds peeled and deveined small shrimp
* 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1 cup chopped cilantro stems
* 1 small onion, finely chopped
* 2 jalapenos, finely chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
* 3/4 cup heavy cream
* Salt and pepper
* Juice of half a lime
* Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cilantro stems, onion, jalapenos, garlic and cumin and cook for several minutes, just until the onion and cilantro stems have softened a bit.
Add the cream and simmer until reduced and thick. Add the shrimp, season with salt and cook until the shrimp turn pink. Remove from heat and add the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve atop green rice and garnish with cilantro leaves, if desired.