where to buy saffron?
- Lawrence Joe
Does anyone know where I can buy just a little bit to make some paella? Does Trader Joe's have any?
After exhaustive searching I have found what I believe to be the Holy Grail of L.A. spice shops. It's called "All Spice" & is run by a delightful & throughly knowledgeable British gentleman. He will hook you up with whatever you need in terms of spices & explain their origins & uses in as much depth as you like. This place is a FIND for all serious chefs.
All Spice - 507 N. Fairfax Ave.
re: 'lil tartlette
Strangely I just returned this minute from my local mexican market (Yucca Market) in Hollywood where they had something called AZAFRAN FLOR, which looks and smells like saffron threads. It cannot be the same saffron we all know and love (could it?) because it was .69 cents for about 1/8 a cup!
I am going to make a Sicilain Rigatoni with cauliflower, raisons,
capers, anchovies and SAFFRON with it tonight. I 'll come back with a report...
re: Greg Henry
Alas with the certainty I have for only death & taxes, I can assure you that at .69 cents for an 8th of a cup, it's NOT the saffron we all know & love.
Azafran Flor is spanish for Saffron Flower, which is no doubt made from the leaves of the Crocus & not the stigmas. I have no experience cooking with Azafran Flor so I'm extremely interested in reading your report.
BTW - your Sicilian Rigatoni sounds wonderful. Happy chowing!!!
re: 'lil tartlette
You were right. The FLOR is not will never be SAFFRON. However, my Rigatoni was excellent. Perhaps the FLOR was just the right ingrediant or perhaps a purer form of SAFFRON would have been too much.
We'll never know because in cooking the sauce I tasted it right before service and decided that it needed a SAFFRON boost and added a couple of threads of actual SAFFRON (purchased from your spice guy on Fairfax whom I agree is an incredible source). The result was terrific. Just a hint (really more of an aftertaste) of SAFFRON with the big flavors being anchovies and red pepper flakes.
I was attempting a repro of a dish I had in Sicily. I had no recipe but it seemed so straight forward I thought I could work it out on my own. This is my 3rd (and best) attempt. It goes something like this...
1/2 cup Raisins
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
6 Garlic Cloves
1/2 plus teasppon Red Pepper Flakes
1 can chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon FAKE SAFFRON
8-10 Anchovies chopped
4 tablespoons Capers
1 head of caulflower cut into bite size florettes
Parmesian, Toasted Pine Nuts and Shredded Basil for Garnish
I heated the Olive oil and sauted the garlic until soft. I added pepper flakes, anchovies, capers, FAKE SAFFRON, and chicken broth. Cooked over medium heat until fragrant. I then added cauliflower and raisins and cooked covered until cauliflower was tender but not mushy. I then removed the lid and continued cooking until the liquid reduced a bit.
That's when I paniced and added two or three threads of REAL SAFFRON. I poured the mix over a box of cooked Rigatoni and garnished with parm, basil and pine nuts.
It made four large portions.
For future reference on saffron (and a million other spices and stuff at whatever quantity and price you want to pay) look at Penzeys.com. They have 3 different grades of saffron and so many other great things. Once you start cooking with saffron, you won't want to stop!!
Don't know if Trader Joe's carries saffron, but I believe some/most markets carry it (Gelson's does). From what I've read it's much better to buy the strands of saffron and not the powder.
I also believe Sur La Table carries saffron, although I could be wrong about this. Perhaps Williams Sonoma does also?
I am fairly sure you could visit any Indian spice shop on Pioneer in Artesia and find some quality saffron at a very reasonable price, and in large quantities if you would like.
In particular, there is a market located on a corner of Pioneer (Sorry I don't remember what it was called. It was the only market that looked like a bodega with advertisements on the outside)It is on the West side of the street in the middle of "Little India", and is diagonally across from another Indian spice shop which is smaller. The last time I was there I bought some VERY fresh cinnamon sticks that were cheaper, and higher in quality than any mexican packet of cinnamon for it's weight. Maybe you'd have the same luck with all of their spices.
The cinnamon is the only thing I've had time to try yet, but they had MANY more to choose from. What I liked , even opposed to the convenience of ordering online, is sniffing to see which bag is the freshest!