Saffron is one of the very precious spices on the planet. The threadlike red stigmas--and the yellowish hue they impart--are quite literally the stuff of legend. However, what will be saffron, just? No matter how many stories are told about the spice, a lot people don't understand what to do with it or whether its worth the high price. Here is everything you want to know.
Saffron is a spice derived from the blossom of Crocus sativus, popularly known as the"saffron crocus". The vivid crimson stigma and styles, called threads, are gathered and dried to be used mainly as a seasoning and colouring agent in food. Saffron has long been the world's most costly spice by weightreduction.
While micro-scale production of saffron does exist in the United States, most saffron discovered here is erased.
What does it taste like?
Saffron is extremely aromatic and subtle. The slightly sweet, luxury taste is completely enigmatic it is tricky to explain but instantly recognizable in a dish.
Grind 2 tsp.Saffron threads, along with a sugar cube or a pinch of coarse saltinto a powder with a mortar and pestle or a spice mill to draw out the most flavor and colour. Then add 1/4 cup warm water and let cool. This is the lively elixir to use on your paella, buttery saffron rice, and special event desserts like saffron-rose water fragile.
Why is it so expensive?
Each flower produces only three threads (stigmas) of saffron, and it blooms for only 1 week each year. The saffron must be harvested--by hand! --in the mid-morning, when the flowers are still closed in order to protect the delicate stigmas inside. It takes approximately 1,000 flowers to make only 1 ounce of saffron. That's why you'll pay $10 to $13 per gram to the real deal. To be sure you're receiving the ideal stuff, take a sniff--you need saffron that smells somewhat like sweet hay. It also needs to have all red stigmas, no yellow stamens.
Where do I buy it?
If possible, check your local Middle Eastern grocer. You could also locate saffron in Whole Foods and gourmet grocery stores--it is also available on AjmalHerbs.
How can I store saffron?
Keep threads in a cool, dry, dark spot (you may put it in the freezer for up to a year). Saffron water can be saved in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three weeks.
Put that saffron to good use:
Crunchy Baked Saffron Rice with Barberries (Tachin)
Also called tachin, this crispy baked Persian rice can be layered with beef, dried fruit, spices, and presented in a rectangular form. We omitted the meat to keep things easy and went with a round shape to change up things. Rinse the rice to keep it from becoming gummy, and parboil it it will be soft and tender after baking. The yogurt, eggs, and oil are what create the gold color and crispy feel, which will have you returning for bite after bite. This rice dish is based on a few of the most well-known Persian polos (pilaf), called sabzi polo. And though the fried shallots aren't traditional (you can take them out if you would like), they add a crispy layer to the dish. Serve with yogurt sauce together. Read more about casting a Persian New Year feast.