It started a few nights ago when I grilled some shrimp for dinner. I thought that pasta with a pesto sauce made from basil would be a nice side dish, but then I thought that making the pesto from LIME basil would be an even better accompaniment to the shrimp. It was.
Then a day or two later I wanted to try a new recipe, grilled tilapia with mango salsa. I looked at a couple versions of this recipe and adjusted the ingredients in the salsa to incorporate what was available fresh from my garden: green pepper instead of red pepper, hot orange pepper instead of jalapeño, scallions instead of red onion, and–here it is–lime basil instead of cilantro.
You see, my cilantro, with its annoyingly short life cycle, had already gone to seed. I was considering whether I should use a bit of Vietnamese cilantro instead. Vietnamese cilantro is a new herb I acquired this spring. It is a tender perennial like rosemary and must be brought indoors for the winter. As the name suggests, its taste is somewhat like cilantro. But not enough! A little of it goes a long way as it has a weird and strong flavor. Even a little bit can be too much, in fact; frankly I just don’t like it.
And that’s why I decided to try using lime basil in the mango salsa. What an improvement! The lime basil was such a good accompaniment to the other ingredients in the salsa that I will probably keep on using it for mango salsa even when I do have cilantro. (And I’ll continue to use cilantro, which I love, in my tomato salsa.) This meal was such a hit with my family that I served it for company a couple nights later. Again it went over very well, with people taking seconds (and thirds for my teenager who had raved about it the other night). We’ll be sure to eat this improved mango salsa with tortilla chips, too!
P.S. Yes, that’s an edible flower, nasturtium, decorating the dish in the picture. That’s my signature touch. I just LOVE edible flowers! For very little effort, they make any dish look magically delicious.