A marinade or relish, this here is a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine. it’s traditionally used with fish or other seafood, but you can use it to flavor anything you like. I won’t tell.
- 3⁄4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1⁄4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1⁄4 tsp. salt
- 3 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Coarsely chop the cilantro, garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and salt. It’s fine to do this in a food processor; about 10 pulses will suffice.
Stir in lemon juice (or pulse briefly).
Don’t mix in the olive oil with a food processor! The oil won’t emulsify with the lemon juice and the sauce will be sour and bitter.
Transfer mixture to medium bowl and slowly whisk in the oil until it’s incorporated and the mixture is emulsified.
Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
Sauce can be refrigerated for up to two days; bring to room temperature and whisk it again before serving.
Emulsify Like a BOSS!
Some liquids are immiscible, which means they don’t like to mix; oil and water, for instance. An emulsion combines the two liquids temporarily, so one is suspended in tiny droplets in the other. When you have a salad dressing with oil and vinegar, for instance, they’ll separate into two layers. You have to shake it occasionally so the vinegar is suspended in droplets throughout the oil.
In this case, you want the lemon juice and other oils and juices to mix together and combine their flavors. If you do that in a food processor, it will break the oil up into such tiny droplets that the bitter-tasting polyphenols in the oil and the lemon juice’s acid will be all you can taste.
That would be sad. So don’t.