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Poppies are known for their beautiful flowers, crunchy seeds, and being the source of the drug opium. Opium comes from the latex of the unripe seed pods, not the actual seeds we eat, so no need to worry! They have been cultivated for centuries for these reasons, so they have found their way into a multitude of cuisines.
In North America and Europe, they are found inside and on top of baked goods, pastries, and fillings. In India, they use white seeds to avoid altering the color of their curries and kormas, where they help to thicken. In Jewish cuisine, you'll see them show up in Hamantaschen filling during Purim.
These little seeds are quite common ingredients in baked goods like bagels, crackers, and cakes, but they are also used regularly in many types of dishes all over the world. The brown-gray, white, and black-blue varieties are all good, but Lior's favorite is the black-blue. Poppy seeds should have a pleasant scent and a sweet, oily flavor with uniform size and color. They are naturally oily, so they should be kept whole, stored properly, and used up faster than other spices. The visual aspect combined with the nutty flavor and texture makes them great for blends and many dishes.
Native to southwestern Asia and parts of the Mediterranean and cultivated in Turkey, the Czech Republic, Holland, India, and the Middle East
These beautiful flowers can be white, purple, or red and can reach up to 5 feet tall. The seed capsules are harvested by machine when they turn yellow and the petals have faded. They are then cut off, dried, and cracked open to collect the seeds.
1. Brush rolled-out pizza dough with olive oil and sprinkle with a few pinches of poppy seeds, coarse salt, and grated pecorino cheese before baking for a quick, crisp flatbread.
2. Combine canned tuna with lemon juice, diced celery stalk, Dijon mustard, and a few pinches of poppy seeds and serve on endive leaves.
3. Season diced ripe mango with a few pinches of poppy seeds, lime juice, and rice wine vinegar for a quick, fresh salsa.
Yogurt parfait • Endive-mustard salad • Lemon vinaigrette • Steak tartare • Crepe • Baklava • Hamantaschen filling