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Saffron ?

nbermas Jun 2, 2007 10:49 AM

Best use and in what recipes?

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  1. Cornbread Jun 2, 2007 10:47 PM

    Saffron really is used quite a bit for coloring dishes. It's so pricey, cooking with it for flavor is often just too expensive. It's used a great deal in Asian dishes. It's one of the important ingredients in a good paella though too. You can substitute turmeric if you don't want to spend all the money on saffron. If it's ground, you can bet it's been mixed with something else like turmeric unless you are certain of the source.
    It's really very good for you- lots of medicinal qualities in high enough amounts.
    Add it to Indian food, Spanish food, whatever really you like. It's used all over the world. Anything you want to add a slightly bitter, hay/earthy flavor to and of course, yellow color, would be good for saffron. The threads mix well with a blend of roasted veggies and poultry, add it to rice for color and a little flavor. It's pretty to use and goes with most any savory dish in my opinion.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Cornbread
      nyfoodjoe Jun 2, 2007 10:51 PM

      Used in risotto, paella, etc. It , in my opinion is more that just an expensive coloring agent(think tumeric). It has a wonderful flavor that can not be duplicated any other way. An a little goes a long way...so your cost per usage is not all that bad. Go to a local high end restaurant supply house (Surfas, here in L.A) Much cheaper that grocery store prices

      1. re: nyfoodjoe
        Cornbread Jun 2, 2007 11:03 PM

        True, a little does go a long way. I'm sure prices in LA are better than CO. LOL...
        It would be cheaper for me to fly to LA and buy it than try to get the real thing where I'm at!

        1. re: Cornbread
          maestra Jun 3, 2007 09:04 AM

          Penzey's top grade saffron is excellent and extremely reasonably priced. I'll never buy saffron at a grocery or gourmet store.

      2. re: Cornbread
        Sam Fujisaka Jun 5, 2007 04:46 AM

        Also in roti or naan. Mix strands and soak water with the flour.

        Always soak the saffron in a bit of water prior to use; use water and saffron.

        1. re: Cornbread
          pgwyer Jun 17, 2007 05:05 AM

          I'm in the middle of cooking lamb tagine and for some reson the saffron I used this time its much stronger in taste that previously used. Is there anything that I can add to my dish to slightly reduce the taste of it? ,

        2. sgwood415 Jun 2, 2007 10:55 PM

          Goes really well with seafood, especially shell fish dishes. Like the others suggested, Paella and risotto.

          1. arifa Jun 2, 2007 10:57 PM

            i love it in biriyani and in shrikand. both are indian dishes. biriyani is a rice dish and shrikand is a yogurt dessert.

            1. y
              Youffraita Jun 3, 2007 09:25 AM

              A year or so ago, the NY Times ran a recipe for fried chicken that involved soaking the chicken parts overnight in a saffron-infused whole-milk yogurt mixture. I made it a few times but have since lost the recipe. It was wonderful, though.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Youffraita
                Jim Washburn Jun 9, 2007 08:55 PM

                This it?

                Persian Fried Chicken:


                1. re: Jim Washburn
                  Youffraita Aug 3, 2007 02:15 PM

                  Yes, thank you so much! Have you tried it? I loved it; but more importantly, my elderly father--hardly an adventurous eater--also loved it.

              2. foxy fairy Jun 3, 2007 09:29 AM

                I've been thinking about saffron a lot lately and I think I'll splurge and get some from Penzey's. I've heard their Spanish paprika is excellent too.

                Giada is doing saffron orzo right now as part of a grilling show. I've never done that, but I have used saffron in butternut squash and pumpkin risottos. I love orzo, but I don't know that I would use saffron there.

                I started feeling very curious about saffron:

                Saffron comes from a purple crocus! The threads come from the stigma, the part of the piston that receives pollen, and each thread is hand-plucked with tweezers! These flowers bloom for a very short period each year (2 weeks) and I think each individual flower sticks around for only one day!

                Something else I didn't know: saffron is responsible for that deep golden color used by Buddhist monks in their robes! WOW. I saw those all over Thailand and Laos, and never connected the color with saffron. So it's highly coveted for medicinal and culinary benefits, *and* used as a dye.

                Here's where I found lots of these tidbits:

                1 Reply
                1. re: foxy fairy
                  butterfly Jun 3, 2007 12:06 PM

                  It is a remarkable crop. Here in Spain it is grown in La Mancha. Check out these photos:


                  If it doesn't have a strong aroma, then it's probably too old or wasn't stored properly.

                2. jinet12 Jun 3, 2007 01:39 PM

                  Saffron is a wonderful tasting spice...I have only used it when making Arroz Con Polla..

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: jinet12
                    butterfly Jun 3, 2007 05:14 PM

                    ¡Arroz con pollo! (Polla is slang term for penis in Spain...)

                    1. re: butterfly
                      jinet12 Jun 5, 2007 03:57 AM

                      Remind me to brush up on my Spanish before I visit Spain...Looks like I could get in some big trouble there! LOL

                  2. b
                    BHAppeal Jun 3, 2007 01:53 PM

                    There is a great recipe for Saffron Orzo in this month's (June) Gourmet magazine. Easy to make and delicious.

                    1. Will Owen Jun 3, 2007 05:22 PM

                      I have a great Provençal stew recipe, a very simple thing with just codfish (fresh, or refreshed salt cod), potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, onions and olives, that starts with the peppers and onions frying in olive oil with salt, pepper and herbes de Provence. I found that all I had to do was use some smoked paprika instead of the herbs, and soak just a healthy pinch of saffron in the liquid before adding it, to drag the whole dish from its Niçoise base around the corner and firmly into Spain!

                      1. m
                        maestra Jun 3, 2007 08:22 PM

                        I just found this today on a Word document where I save my tips and ideas from this site. Sorry I can't credit who posted this, but I plan to make it on Tuesday:

                        "My fave unusual pasta 'sauce': blanch cauliflower and chop finely, sliver pancetta and render, add the cauliflower and some dissolved saffron & cook on low heat a while so the flavors get blended. Toss with chunky pasta such as small shells or orrechiette and top with toasted pine nuts. Yum-my yum yum!"

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: maestra
                          Louise Jun 4, 2007 11:11 AM

                          That was me, and I'm flattered, I hope that you enjoy it.

                          To the OP, it's also good in rice pudding.

                        2. QueenB Jun 5, 2007 08:32 AM

                          Risotto (milanese or seafood)
                          Saffron cream sauce (decadent with pasta or over crabcakes)
                          Saffron bread
                          I'll cook basmati rice, then throw a pinch of saffron in some warm water, let it steep a few minutes, then drizzle it over the rice.

                          1. puppymomma Jun 9, 2007 11:45 AM

                            I've put it in a tortilla espanola. I used this recipe from epicurious.com:


                            It's good stuff!


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