Saturday, November 14, 2009

Georgian Cilantro & Apricot Sauce

I learned about this sauce from the Republic of Georgia from an episode of The Splendid Table a few weeks back. Guest Martha Rose Shulman was talking about all kinds of wonderful cilantro based sauces, and included this recipe, adapted from Dara Goldstein's The Georgian Feast.

This versatile sauce features lots of cilantro and parsley, along with walnuts and dried apricots, soaked in boiling water and left overnight. Dried fruits like dates, raisins, figs, etc., almost always offer other cooking possibilities when they're rehydrated. I thought these dried apricots looked nice after spending the night in a jar filled with boiling water, almost doubling in size.

Soaking the apricots is the only advance step in this easy recipe, and your food processor or blender does the rest of the work. Here's the ingredients, listed in the order in which they were processed...I think it helps to do the garlic and walnuts first, to make sure they're finely ground before adding the rest:

4 garlic cloves
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1 cup dried apricots, soaked overnight (or at least a few hours) in 1 cup boiling water
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 bunch (2 cups or so) fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 bunch (about 1 cup) fresh parsley
5 tbsp. walnut oil
reserved soaking water from apricots

After processing everything else in your blender or food processor, add the soaking water until the sauce reaches the consistency you like. I left mine a little thick, like a pesto.

Speaking of pesto, this evokes a classic basil pesto, but cilantro is the dominant flavor, and the pureed apricots lend both a citrus taste and a velvety texture. You could use this just about anywhere - I spread it over grilled marinated tofu, with roasted sweet potaotes, steamed broccoli, and some rice. After the photo, I just blended everything together, with the cilantro-apricot sauce smothering everything in sweet Georgian goodness.

16 comments:

The Voracious Vegan said...

I love cilantro and I love cilantro pesto, but I never would have thought to use apricots in there. I think that sounds delicious and would totally make the regular run of the mill pesto stand out from the crowd. Thanks for this awesome idea!

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

Wow, what a colorful meal. It looks like something I'd order at a restaurant! The sauce sounds incredible.

Jain said...

What a pretty plate!

aredcardigan said...

Wow interesting use of apricots in a savory recipe.
I must say however, cilantro is one of the herbs I dislike:(

You seriously do wonders with tofu! Are you sure you're Caucasian??? hehe

Trinity (of haiku tofu) said...

That looks delicious- and what an interesting combo! It makes me want to learn more about Georgian food.

nora said...

SOunds so good! I just bookmarked this recipe on the NYT website yesterday actually!

kmouse said...

Oh wow, amazing!

stellatex said...

Fascinating. It does look great.

miss v said...

interesting - the only thing i'm worried about is how sweet it is? do the apricots give a sweetness?

Mike K said...

The apricots don't make it too much sweeter than similar sauces (though that may depend on the apricot). I used dried Sun-maid Mediterranean apricots, which aren't overly sweet. Thanks for all the comments!

aredcardigan said...

Mikey! You always leave me the sweetest comments!

Thanks my friend! :)

ann said...

I made it tonight and it was yummy -- but I think the apricots I used were a bit too sweet. The Turkish kind might be especially good and sharp. I served it over pasta, but I think it'd be great over some steamed carrots, or even some greens. And, of course, tofu! It was so easy to make though -- a perfect quick dinner, and lots of leftovers for the rest of the week.

Sophie said...

A georgous & festive bright green good for you sauce,...

MMMMMMMMMMM,...

Mel - BouchonFor2.com said...

What an interesting combo!

I adore your recipes and your veggie blog is a wonderful read. Care to join a veggie food-fight hosted by me and shesimmers.com and submit a fennel recipe? More details: http://www.bouchonfor2.com/beet-n-squash-you/

Tom said...

That looks delish - is it important to use the dehydrated apricots or can use fresh?

Gauri Radha गौरी राधा said...

This looks so appetizing and lovely!!