Have you ever seen the movie, What About Bob? Over the past twenty years in the Anderson family, this film has achieved cult status. Boyfriends and now husbands have had to watch it over and over again, and have these little nuances explained to them so that they can understand our inside jokes. We don’t just watch it and quote it. We use lines from it to illustrate situations in our own life, to explain our own response to something.
The premise of the film is that Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss), a successful, egotistical psychiatrist, ultimately goes crazy after one of his patients, Bob Wiley (Bill Murray), a “highly manipulative obsessive-compulsive”, tracks him down during his family vacation in Lake Winnipesaukee. When the two first meet in Dr. Marvin’s New York City office, Bob tries to explain the nature of his problems.
Dr. Leo Marvin: Are you married?
Bob Wiley: I’m divorced.
Dr. Leo Marvin: Would you like to talk about that?
Bob Wiley: There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don’t. My ex-wife loves him.
Dr. Leo Marvin: [pause] I see. So, what you’re saying is that even though you are an almost-paralyzed, multiphobic personality who is in a constant state of panic, your wife did not leave you, you left her because she… liked Neil Diamond?
Whenever I make something heavy on the cilantro, I always think of What About Bob? Because, like the British yeast spread, Marmite, or the music of Neil Diamond, you either love it or you hate it. If you hate cilantro, I’m sorry. But if you love it, join me in my excitement about cilantro pesto. I could (and do) eat it by the spoonful. I toss it with roasted vegetables, use it as a base for salad dressings, spread it on pizza, and of course put it on pasta. Here’s a recipe for cilantro pesto and a simple vegetarian, weeknight supper that features it: Hominy and Pepper Jack Quesadillas.
Oh, and just for the record, I’m with Bob on Neil Diamond. (And I love marmite.)
Makes about 1 cup
You will not use all the pesto for these quesadillas but leftovers are great stirred into pasta, bean and grain salads, sandwiches and wraps.
2 cups picked and rinsed cilantro leaves
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
2 scallions, cut into one-inch lengths
1/4 serrano pepper, or to taste
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup pure olive oil
Process cilantro, almonds, scallions, pepper, and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper in the work bowl of a food processor until finely ground. Add oil and continue to process until pasty smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings, including more salt if necessary. Can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week.