By Harold McGee
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) has been valued and cultivated since ancient times, more for its dried fruits than its leaves, which have entirely different flavors. The flavor of the fruit oil is startlingly floral and lemony, and makes coriander unique and irreplaceable in the cook’s arsenal of aromas. It’s generally used in combination with other spices, as a component of a pickling or sausage mix, in gin and other alcohols, or as half of the coriander-cumin backbone of many Indian dishes. Coriander is also one of the distinguishing flavors in American hot dogs.