Nigella first was a beautiful blue and white flower. Once the flowers fade a seed pod appears and begins to dry out over time. These seeds also go by the name black cumin and have a strong, onion-like taste. You can sprinkle them on salads, vegetable dishes, or chicken. They are really good on potatoes!
Cutting Instructions: Nigella seed is ready to be harvested when you can hear the seeds rattling in the pod, this means it is dry enough. Snip off a few pods and at home crack them open to find the nigella seeds. Nigella seeds have a very long shelf life, so store them in a cool, dark, airtight container or ziplock bag.
Orzo with Spiced Tomato Sauce and Feta
- 4 cups fresh tomatoes chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon nigella seeds
- Olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- Pinch of chili powder
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Small bunch of fresh oregano, leaves removed and stems discarded
- 7 ounces orzo
- Extra-virgin olive oil, to finish
- 7 ounces feta cheese
- If you are using fresh tomatoes, roughly chop them and discard the cores. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the cumin, coriander, and nigella seeds. Toast until they release their fragrance, about 1 minute.
- Add a few tablespoons of oil to the skillet, then add the onion, garlic, and chili powder and cook over low heat until the onions are soft and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and a good pinch of salt and pepper, stir and cook until they have broken down and formed a soupy tomato sauce, 18 to 20 minutes. If necessary, you can add a little water to loosen the sauce. Add the oregano leaves to the skillet. Season well with salt and pepper (but remember that you will add salty feta at the end).
- Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and season generously with salt. Cook the orzo in the boiling salted water until it’s just less than al dente, about 10 minutes (or a couple of minutes less than the package instructions). Reserve a cupful of the pasta water, then drain the orzo.
- Add the orzo to the tomato sauce and let everything cook to a gentle, thick, souplike consistency, about 2 minutes. Add a little of the pasta water to loosen as needed. Serve the pasta with lots of good olive oil (be generous here) and a sprinkle of crumbled feta.
Warm Potato Salad With Nigella Seeds
- 3 pounds small red potatoes, scrubbed
- Kosher salt
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup whole-grain Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons nigella seeds
- ¼ cup minced chives
- If the potatoes are the size of ping-pong balls, halve them. If they’re much larger, quarter them so that all the potato chunks are about the same size. Put the cut potatoes in a large saucepan and add two tablespoons of kosher salt and enough cold water to cover by one inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to simmer until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk the vinegar, oil, and mustard in a large bowl until well blended.
- Drain the potatoes, shake gently in the colander to dry, then pour into the bowl with the dressing. Fold gently until evenly coated. Sprinkle with the nigella seeds and chives, then fold again until well mixed.
Nigella Seed Onion Rings
- 1 large onion, peeled and sliced into ½” rounds, separated into rings (yellow or white)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar, optional
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp kosher salt, separated plus additional for sprinkling
- ¼ tsp cayenne
- ¾ cup, all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp cornmeal
- 2 tsp nigella seeds
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cups neutral oil, for frying
- kosher salt
- In a large bowl, mix together buttermilk, vinegar, turmeric, ½ tsp salt, and cayenne. Add in the onion rings, toss well to combine. Allow the onions to marinate for at least 15 minutes (the onions can stay in the buttermilk for a few hours). In another bowl mix together flour, cornmeal, nigella seeds, and the remaining ½ tsp salt.
- When you are ready to fry, preheat the oven to 300°. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Heat the oil to 350° in a large pot or dutch oven.
- In batches, dredge the onion rings into the flour mixture. Place the onion rings separately on a couple of plates until ready to fry. Fry the onion rings in 3-4 batches being careful not to crowd them. Fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oil and place on the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Place the baking sheet in the warm oven. Repeat the process with the remaining onion rings, placing them in the oven to keep warm. Serve hot.