Soapy Bug Smellers

Cilantro. You love it our hate it. I love it. I cannot understand how others can’t love it, but they do. A New York Times article called those poor, poor people Cilantrophobes.

The majority of those who dislike cilantro report that it tastes like soap. A chemical analysis of cilantro finds that a number of the components that make up its distinctive smell are also found in soap. And bugs. Yes, bugs and soap have a similar smell profile. It is estimated that many who have a strong prior association to the scent with soap (or bugs) have an instant aversion to the herb.

Lucky for me, I don’t have that association. In fact, when I am in the grocery store buying cilantro, I will pick up several bunches and pick the bunch with the strongest scent. I’ve heard somewhere, I think from Food Network’s Alton Brown, that the weaker the smell of cilantro, the weaker the taste. I’ll leave the weaker cilantro on the shelves for all you soapy bug smellers.

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Such a beautiful looking dish. Great tasting as well!

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I love these individually packaged salmon filets for dishes like this.

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Mixing up the dressing.

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Adding it to the salsa.

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Great color.

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A nice sear on the salmon.

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Awesome taste!

Seared Salmon with Cilantro-Cucumber Salsa

Makes: 4.


  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, halved lengthwise again and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch julienne
  • 2 Tbs. chopped shallot or red onion
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. canola oil
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 salmon fillets, each 5 oz. and about 1 inch thick
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Lime wedges for garnish


In a bowl, combine the cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, shallot and chopped cilantro and toss gently to mix. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, 1 tsp. of the canola oil, the honey, red pepper flakes and 1/2 tsp. of the salt. Pour the lime juice mixture over the cucumber mixture and toss gently to mix and coat evenly. Set aside.

Sprinkle the salmon fillets on both sides with the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and the black pepper. In a large, nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 1/2 tsp. canola oil. Add the fish and cook, turning once, until opaque throughout when tested with the tip of a knife, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Transfer the salmon fillets to warmed individual plates and top each with one-fourth of the salsa. Garnish the plates with the cilantro sprigs and lime wedges. Serve immediately.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: kosher, Low Carb, Seafood, Vegetable2

Author:The Ranting Chef

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8 Comments on “Soapy Bug Smellers”

  1. July 19, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    They say that it has something to do with genetics whether or not you like cilantro.
    So I am a freak–I hated cilantro when I was in college. It totally tasted like soap to me.
    Now? I love it. Mexican, Indian, Chinese–give me the cilantro.
    I’d love to know what changed.


  2. July 19, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    I love cilantro! Great salsa recipe, gotta try it


  3. blowingoffsteamandmore
    July 19, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    Love cilantro. Have a giant pot of it growing outside right now!


  4. July 19, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    This made me laugh. I wrote about it in one of my posts. My husband used to say cilantro tasted like soap. Now he says stinky bugs smell like cilantro. I had no idea he’s not the only one that feels that way. I’ll show this to him, he’ll be happy to know he’s not weird!

    The recipe, on the other hand, sounds delicious!


  5. July 19, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

    I love cilantro – and this recipe looks great!!! Love the idea of cilantro and salmon!


  6. July 20, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

    I want to love Cilantro. I’ve even grown it thinking it would taste better homegrown – like tomatoes. But although I didn’t make the connection with soap, it definitely has a weird taste to me – like insect repellent. Must be the bugs.



  1. July 2013: A Review | Once in a Blue Spoon - August 1, 2013

    […] love salmon and I love cilantro hence I think I will love this Seared Salmon with Cilantro-Cucumber Salsa (from Ranting […]


  2. I Love Me Some Salsa | Rantings of an Amateur Chef - February 26, 2015

    […] Seared Salmon with Cilantro-Cucumber Salsa […]


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