I bought too much coriander, or as we call it over here, cusbara. So it became the centerpiece of this week’s omelet. Incidentally, it is also know as cilantro in Spanish and Coriandrum sativum according to its genus and species. Coriander is also widely used in India where it is called dhania. This apparently refers to the dried seeds which are ground to a powder for Indian food.
I broke out in laughter when, upon reading the Wikipedia article about this herb, they also refer to its being called Chinese Parsley because this is what Carl, who ran our favorite Chinese Restaurant in Boston, Carl’s Pagoda, for many years, many years ago, called it. He always smiled his innocent little-boy grin when he listed this as one of the ingredients of one of his dishes he was offering to serve us. Apparently he retired and now the restaurant is listed as “closed” when one does an internet search.
An interesting historical note is that the oldest archaeological find of coriander in the form of dessicated seed pods was here in Israel. These were dated to about 8,000 years BCE. Another archeological finding was of coriander seeds in the tomb of Tutankhamen in Egypt. Coriander is also mentioned in the Bible in Exodus 16:31 where it is written, “And the house of Israel began to call its name manna: and it was round like coriander seed, and its taste was like that of flat cakes made with honey.”
Despite coriander being used in many cuisines in disparate corners of the earth, not everybody likes this herb. Wikipedia states, “Many experience an unpleasant “soapy” taste or a rank smell and avoid the leaves.” And McGee, quoting studies by Charles J. Wysocki of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, wrote in a NYTimes article, “Some people may be genetically predisposed to dislike cilantro….There appears to be a genetic component to the detection of “soapy” versus “herby” tastes.” So if you are an “herby” taste person, you’ll probably love this omelet. On the other hand, if you are a “soapy” taste person, don’t even try it. Perhaps you’ll like it better if you substitute parsley for the coriander. Furthermore, don’t even think of substituting coriander seeds for fresh coriander. The difference is like night and day. If you think that you are confused now, there is another plant called culantro or Mexican cilantro. It is from the same phylogenetic Family, Apiaceae, but a different Genus and Species, Eryngium foetidum. Though it has used as a coriander substitute, having similar but stronger taste, I think I will forgo using it in my Mexican Omelet (future idea for an omelet???), as the scientific species name, foetidum, sort of turns off my taste buds. Maybe I’ll try it and call it the Fetid Omelet. Ha, ha, — just kidding
This omelet contains much more fresh coarsely chopped coriander than you’ve ever used in a recipe. I used approximately three-quarters of a cupful spread over the cooking egg in the usual manner. Then I sprinkled cubed Tomme Goat Cheese recently purchased at the Adir Winery where they also sell their delicious goat dairy products. The Tomme is a medium hard cheese with smokey and mixed herb flavors and fits in well with the fresh coriander. For added cheesiness, I added a few sprinkles of shredded mozzarella cheese before flipping the egg over and enclosing these delicious in the “wrap.”
This is an update of the very first omelet about which we wrote way back in July of 2011. Reading it now makes me realize how far we have come from bare bones description to an in depth description of background and history of the omelet’s components. So read with pleasure and cook with joy and eat with vigor…….
Bon Appetit — B’Tayavon