What can I do with a jar of saffron?
It's worth its weight in gold. I've read its fabled history and people have surely died for it. It figures in Greek myth and in medieval times wars were fought over it. (e.g. the "Saffron War") But someone gave me a very small jar of saffron threads and I don't know what to do with it! What preparation, dish or recipe best brings out its legendary flavour? (It seems a waste to throw it in some rice.) I've done a search on this board and found references to its subtle, floral note. I want to taste that!
It's the stuff of legend; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_...
It goes really well in kheer (rice or vermicelli pudding.) I just use Madhur Jaffrey's recipe and add some saffron as well as a few white raisins. You definitely know it's there.
FWIW- I don't think it's a waste to use it in rice (as a side dish) at all. Actually, the one time I 'overdid it' with saffron was in saffron rice (the upside being that at least it was a good learning experience)- it's amazing the fine line between being subtle to overpowering :)
Saffron Soup with Mussels, paraphrased from Hopkinson's Roast Chicken and Other Stories:
1/2 cup butter
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 T Pernod
1/2 bottle dry white wine (750 ml bottle)
1 bay leaf
1 thyme sprig
1 cup light chicken stock
2 1/4 pounds cleaned mussels
2 waxy all purpose potatoes, diced
1 tsp saffron threads
salt & pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tarragon sprigs, leaves only, finely chopped
lemon juice to taste
croutons, to serve
Melt butter and add onions and garlic, cooking until "pale golden". Add Pernod, "allow to froth", add white wine and herbs. After it comes to a boil, simmer for 15 minutes, gently, without a lid. Add stock and heat again.
In a large pot, put the mussels and strain the soup over them, reserving the solids. Bring to a boil until mussels are "just" open. Drain, keep the liquid. Strain liquid through cheesecloth or fine sieve into the pot you used to make the soup. (I was about to skip this step, but am glad I did not as there was some sand/grit etc.) Add the solids to the broth, remove bay leaf and thyme, add potatoes, saffron, salt and pepper, bring to the boil. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, then keep warm.
Shell mussels, add to soup, heat with cream and tarragon, add lemon juice to taste. Adjust seasoning if needed, serve with croutons.
Just read the wiki link Brian S provided. Based on the article, I say you should take a bath in it. :)