Cilantro, my love.

These Parsi-style scrambled eggs are what I like to call a “Jimmy Dish.”  It’s just what my man loves: golden-yolked, farm-fresh eggs, jalapeno, a dash of dairy, and lots and lots of cilantro.  He found the recipe in Saveur magazine a few days after I got laid up with a bad back. I could tell by the look on his face that cilantro was involved. My boyfriend is obsessed with the herb.

Not that I don’t share his enthusiasm; you won’t catch me in the “anti-cilantro community.” I love the pungent quality of its delicate leaves.  Cilantro’s bright, citrusy taste reminds me a bit of fennel without too much distinct licorice flavor.  I love cilantro.  Always have.  And I guess I’m a tad bitter that, when Jim came into my life, he laid claim to it.  I had thought I loved cilantro just as much—no, more!—than the average Joe.  And, since I’d spent more time in Southern California than most of my New Jersey friends, I thought I was entitled to be cilantro’s #1.  But no.  Jimmy thinks he’s a hot rock because he spent a whole year in Southern California shooting meth and—more importantly—eating burrito after burrito just teeming with cilantro.

Well, big whoop.  I’m here tonight to reclaim cilantro with these eggs.  Even if Jim found the recipe first.  And even though he actually cooked these eggs while I took pictures—the green guy’s mine.

So, now that that’s established, let me take a deep breath and tell you about the eggs.  Jalapeno gives enough heat to snap at your tongue every few bites while the eggs and cream keep that heat in check.  Roma tomatoes allow for this to be made year-round, and you won’t even notice their lack of flavor.  And the cilantro, well, I think you’ve learned that I have strong feelings there.  The cilantro adds a brightness, it practically shines through the yellow eggs.

We like to mix in the cilantro stems, finely minced, while we are whisking the eggs and cream together.  The stems are a bit juicer and more flavorful than the leaves, and using them in cooking is a wonderful trick I learned from fellow-cilantro addict Jamie Oliver.  And that guy knows his herbs.

These are great for breakfast, but I like them for dinner with a big pull of multi-grain bread.  And, of course, lots of cilantro on the side.

Parsi-style Scrambled Eggs

(with ungodly amounts of cilantro)

serves 2-3 hungry people or 4-6 as part of a spread

adapted from Saveur Magazine, Issue #114

  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 serrano or jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 plum tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 1⁄2 cup 1 bunch chopped cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1⁄4 cup heavy cream
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Melt 3 tbsp. butter in a 12″ nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add chiles and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften and brown lightly, about 3 minutes. Add remaining butter and tomatoes; cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes release their juices, about 6 minutes.

Add eggs, cilantro stems, cream, and kosher salt. Reduce heat to medium and slowly cook the eggs, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until soft curds form and the eggs just set, about 6 minutes.

Transfer eggs to a platter. Sprinkle remaining cilantro over eggs and serve hot, with toast.

21 thoughts on “Cilantro, my love.”

  1. Donald: This recipe is very, very good. You don’t have to use so much cilantro (though I would of course recommend it). The eggs are creamy and a bit spicy and a perfect, filling, dinner with some good bread.

    Thanks for the photo compliment Joan. 🙂

    Judy: I am sooo so envious of you!!

    Jimmy: WAAAARRRR!!

  2. I love cilantro more every time I eat it, I have yet to find a point where I’ve used too much in a dish. Every time I make a Mexican dish for my father, he always complains about some herby taste that he can’t stand and everytime I have to tell him its cilantro and that he can pick it out. I wonder how it tastes to him, does it taste the same as it does to me and he just doesn’t like it? Or does it actually respond differently on his tongue and taste like feet or something… I love philosophical questions, especially food-related.

  3. Nick: I’ve heard that some people are predisposed with a gene that makes cilantro taste like soap. Mainly people from colder places (e.g. Russia). Poor souls!!

  4. I think it’s safe to say I will sell state secrets if you temp me with the tomato/onion/cilantro/avocado combo. I’m simply powerless against it. Cilantro is something I adore — I don’t get how anyone doesn’t just love it 🙂

  5. Love the technique of adding the stems right into the raw eggs. Yet I have to question, is there ever too much cilantro? My vote says “No!”

  6. I love cilantro, but unfortunately, I never use it that much! This looks like my boyfriend’s perfect breakfast, so I`ll have to surprise him one day!

  7. Can we just love it together? 😉 I love love cilantro and I also use that trick of including the stems! I also love yolky runny eggs…this is definitely going to get made over here!!!

  8. Elise at Simply Recipes was the one who taught me about the stems. So much flavor.

    I’ve heard of the soap taste thing. We love cilantro too (though I think it would be really bizarre if Steve didn’t like it he he. Just recently, when I told him people either love it or hate it, he was horrified. He couldn’t believe it wasn’t liked by EVERYone.

    Dude, Robin, I have like, 7 of your recipes on my immediate, weekly printed “to make” list and yet I don’t think I’ve gotten to any of them yet. I’m so ashamed.

    Make this number 8.

    I’ll get to them. I swear! 😛

  9. Count me in the cilantro love camp. These eggs look like a magnificent way to start the morning. I’ll just be sure not to ever serve them, though, to my friend Donna (cilantro hater), and my Aunt Stella (biggest cilantro hater of them all).

  10. I asked your boyfriend if cilantro is the same as coriander. He said he thought they might be, only coriander is dried. He said I’d better ask you. He said YOU are the REAL cilantro expert (no he didn’t say that). Anyway, the reason I ask is because in Norway I can (and do) buy ‘koriander’ but I can’t get cilantro. Our daughter is now saying she hates it, but I think she’ll buy it if it’s mixed with jalapeno. You never can tell what they’re going to like unless it contains donuts.

  11. Jeremy: Koriander is coriander which is cilantro. I’ve read different things that say coriander refers to the seed and cilantro the fresh leaves, and that you actually don’t grow the coriander seeds into fresh plants (so I guess that would mean cilantro is grown from some other, mysterious, seed), but I can’t remember where I heard that from nor do I believe it.

    I found a chart on how coriander translates (and other fun facts) here:

  12. Thank you, Jeremy. Now the world knows that in public I declare war over cilantro while in private I defer to her expertise.

    Our daughter is now saying she hates it, but I think she’ll buy it if it’s mixed with jalapeno.

    I had trouble getting used to it myself; I just knew there was this weird herby flavor in all the burritos I was eating out in Southern California. It wasn’t until I’d left and couldn’t get a good burrito that I realized how much I’d come to love cilantro. That and lard.

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