The question: What can I do with coriander?

The sales of fresh herbs seem unshakeable, which surprises me since the very first thing I plan to do once recession bites is start nicking rosemary out of people's front gardens.

According to figures just released by the British herb industry, the best seller is coriander, which makes up one quarter of all herbs sold in this form. I suspect this is because dried coriander leaf is totally tasteless. I don't mean that as just a mild sideswipe; my sister and I have just put some in our mouths, and agreed that it didn't even taste of leaf.

What should we do with fresh coriander, apart from chop it up and sprinkle it on curry? Nigella Lawson has a lovely recipe for a Vietnamese salad that you are meant to use up cooked turkey in, with glass noodles, but I have stripped it right back, out of necessity, to just cucumber, spring onions and coriander with a yam dressing (that just means hot and sour in Vietnamese - not a literal yam. It's sesame, lime, nam pla, soy sauce, garlic, chilli and ginger). I always use coriander instead of mint in tabouleh, but that's because I don't like mint and flat-leaf parsley promises a lot more flavour than it delivers.

And here's a recipe you won't find in any of your new-fangled books, from Fish For All Seasons, by Ninette Lyon. Take two pounds of white fish, two cloves of garlic, a tablespoon of coriander powder, three chopped
onions, a glass of white wine and some fresh coriander. Crush the garlic with salt and the coriander powder, rub that into the fish, and leave it for an hour or so. Brown the onions, then brown the fish. Lay it over the onions, pour on the white wine and some olive oil, cook for a half hour in a hot oven (220C), then serve with the fresh coriander chopped over it.

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