Saffron threads are the fine stigmas found in the crocus bulb which is a flowering plant belonging to the lily family. Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world due to the cost associated with harvesting by hand and the curing process. Quality saffron has an intense perfume and should be used in recipes where the saffron won't be dominated by other flavours. Saffron should be infused in just boiled water or milk and allowed to infuse for about five minutes. The saffron and (importantly), the liquid are then used in the recipe. Saffron is an essential ingredient in the classic French Bouillabaisse and rice dishes such as Spanish Paella Valencia. Saffron goes extremely well with rice, potatoes, pasta, gnocchi, fennel, seafood dishes, and shellfish dishes and adds a beautiful fragrant flavour to dressings, sauces, tagines and soups.
Uses and Ideas! ©
Add saffron to a simple homemade vinaigrette. Saute two finely chopped french shallots in a little olive oil. Transfer to a bowl (allow to cool), add 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard, 2 tbsp white wine vinegar, 1 tsp lemon juice (and a little zest), five tbsp olive oil and 1 small pinch of saffron soaked in a little hot water. Mix well, add salt/pepper and serve over grilled fish, potatoes or salad.