Cooking with Saffron
Saffron is worth its weight in gold
I love saffron.
The difference that a pinch of saffron thread can make to a dish is little short of miraculous and it's a tiny indulgence that I buy occasionally without feeling guilty.
So what happens when I receive a birthday gift of a whole precious ounce? Simple - I will be cooking with saffron for a whole year!
My Birthday Present
Recipes with Saffron
I'm going to be cooking a lot of meals with saffron.
I've cooked paella, potatoes, aromatic rice and couscous with saffron before and, every now and then, a Persian-style lamb recipe, but I'll be trying a lot more ways to use this beautiful spice.
Online Cooking Unit Conversion
Cooked in the stock, the potatoes absorb the colour and aroma of the saffron.
- Kilo of potatoes
- Litre of Chicken stock
- 2 - 3 onions
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- A generous pinch of saffron
- Pepper - salt - butter
- Peel potatoes and cut a very thin slice off one side so that it will sit flat.
- Slice the potato all along the top side but only make the cut two thirds way down. As this cooks, the potato opens slightly so that any flavour goes right through.
- Bring the stock to a gentle heat, not hot, and add a large pinch of saffron threads to the liquid. Let it sit a few minutes to infuse.
- Slice the onions and lay them in the bottom of a baking dish. Place the bay leaves in the dish over the onions.
- Put the potatoes on top of the onions and pour the saffron stock over - about two thirds of the way up the sides.
- Push a little butter into the top of each potato and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake 180C about 25 minutes.
Rice with Saffron
- 2 cups of long grained rice
- pinch of saffron
- :Rinse the rice a few times in cold water.
- In a small bowl pour 2 tablespoons of hot water. Add the saffron. Let the liquid cool.
- Drain the rice, then place in a pot. Put your hand in the pot and add cold water up to your knuckles. Add the saffron liquid.
- Cover the pot and turn the heat low.
- Let the rice simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed.
Saffron in Couscous
This couscous is by far the tastiest I've ever eaten!
Paella - With saffron - naturally!
With sub titles
You need Saffron for Paella
Seafood Paella, Pork Paella, Rabbit Paella, they're all here - the techniques and directions for the perfect paella.
And a good Paella Pan too
Serve paella to 12 guests with this pan. On the stove or on the BBQ, perfect paella every time.
Mexican Saffron is NOT Saffron
American saffron or Mexican saffron is NOT saffron but safflower, the plant from which we get safflower oil.
Yes, the flowers of this daisy family are edible and, yes, they will add a yellow colour to your recipe but they have no flavour and you can't substitute them for saffron. You may as well use crushed yellow crayons.
This is real Saffron - Don't be fooled by substitutes
This is quite a lot of saffron - five boxes with one-gram of saffron in each. I've used this brand myself.
Turmeric is no substitute for Saffron
Turmeric, used in curries and chutneys, is a pungent little spice but it's NOT saffron.
If a recipe suggests you substitute turmeric for saffron, be aware that all you're getting is some yellow colour in your food. You may as well use curry powder itself.
Hints for Cooking with Saffron
- Crush and soak saffron to release its flavour
- Saffron threads can easily be crumbled between your fingers, although for a more uniform powder, use a mortar and pestle. Count threads before crushing. A "pinch" is about 20 medium saffron threads
- Saffron needs moisture and warmth to release its flavour. Soak the threads in hot (not boiling) liquid for 5 to 20 minutes. Then add both the saffron and the liquid to the recipe. As the saffron soaks, the distinctive aroma will tell you that your saffron is ready
- Soak the saffron in stock or wine for an even richer flavour.
Saffron is Wonderful with RiceClick thumbnail to view full-size
What's cooking in my kitchen?
The kettle is on, so pop over for a cuppa, a warm welcome and my latest recipes
What's Cooking in My Kitchen?
I'm happy to spend time in my kitchen. I have good appliances, a trusty gas cooker, sharp knives and lots of light. I keep my pantry stocked with the basics...
Saffron and you
What do you think of Saffron?
All comments are greatly appreciated.