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Saffron – The Topic


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#1 chromedome

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Posted 04 October 2004 - 09:45 PM

I'm a very happy camper, tonight. A well-connected friend Stateside has sent me a full ounce of quality Spanish saffron. I've been out to the kitchen three times in the last two hours to take off the lid and sniff it and giggle to myself in sheer delight. Sure is great to know a guy who knows a guy, isn't it?

Anyway...I frequently make basmati with saffron, one of the few modest indulgences I can budget for. And of course, I'll be off to the Italian Centre in the next day or two for some Carnaroli to make myself a nice risotto; and I'll be combing favourite books and websites for ways to take advantage of this windfall.

However, with the Web's finest resource right here in my home away from home, I just gotta ask...what would you folks do with an extravagant quantity of saffron?
Fat=flavor

#2 Dian

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Posted 04 October 2004 - 10:45 PM

Paella. I would eat that everyday if I had that much saffron.

Edited by Dian, 04 October 2004 - 10:45 PM.


#3 Bridgestone

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 12:10 AM

Bake with it!

Swedes make a sweetish roll at Christmas time that you could easily recreate with a challa-like dough (use milk instead of water and let a good pinch of saffron steep in the milk for, say, 24 hours beforehand). They make "S"-shaped buns with a raisin studden in each curl but don't let that limit your imagination. Or try making cinnamon buns with a pinch of saffron included in that dough. I do recommend the long steeping of the saffron as it really gets a deep flavor out of it.

Of course, fish stews are awfully tasty with a pinch of saffran in the broth, too.

#4 lperry

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 05:57 AM

You can make a wonderful fresh saffron pasta and then add saffron to a cream sauce with delicate additions like baby artichokes and peas. I'm so jealous!

#5 GG Mora

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 06:02 AM

Saffron Mashed Potatoes. Assuming you heat your milk before adding it to the potatoes, heat it longer over a lower temperature and infuse it with a generous pinch of saffron.

#6 reesek

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 09:10 AM

i love saffron and tomato together, and think saffron lends (or extends) a seafood flavor...very luxuriantly. i like to roast fish (halibut, rockfish) on a bed of thick saffrony tomato sauce made from sauteed leeks, fennel, onion & garlic, saffron and tomatoes (chopped - fresh in summer, canned in winter). sometimes i add capers and kalamatas. i usually bloom the saffron in some water or gently warmed tomato juice for that dish, and then add it to the sauce off heat as i prepare the fish. it's very good served in shallow bowls with bread for mopping.

saffron cream with peas...drool. good one.
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#7 Woods

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 10:12 AM

i love saffron and tomato together, and think saffron lends (or extends) a seafood flavor...very luxuriantly. i like to roast fish (halibut, rockfish) on a bed of thick saffrony tomato sauce made from sauteed leeks, fennel, onion & garlic, saffron and tomatoes (chopped - fresh in summer, canned in winter). sometimes i add capers and kalamatas. i usually bloom the saffron in some water or gently warmed tomato juice for that dish, and then add it to the sauce off heat as i prepare the fish. it's very good served in shallow bowls with bread for mopping.

saffron cream with peas...drool. good one.

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Adding a little saffron to pistachio ice cream is wonderful.;

#8 Jason Perlow

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 10:14 AM

Risotto Milanese. Serve with pan seared dry diver scallops.
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#9 andiesenji

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 11:47 AM

I will have to dig out the recipe, it's not in my computer, for a saffron butter sauce for lobster
(langoustine in saffron butter sauce) a recipe taught in my first class on French cooking, many, many years ago, by Chef Gregoire.
It has been quite a few years since I even thought of it but I know it included cream and butter, the saffron, of course, and white wine. It had either garlic or shallot, maybe something else. I am so glad you mentioned this. I haven't thought of this for years. An old friend.

I also make a Saffron cake, a Cornish traditional type cake. Keeps well.
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#10 NulloModo

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 11:58 AM

I have a dish that involves a puree of cauliflower, cardamom, saffron, and chorizo, also tons of heavy cream and butter. It is quite luxurious, beautiful in color, and potent and full in flavor.

If you dislike cauliflower I imagine one could make it with potatos as well.
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#11 Cusina

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 12:05 PM

I second the paella suggestion. Heavenly. If you don't happen to have a few hours to spend on the prep., I have a very passable and much quicker recipe from Mark Bittman. PM me if you would like it. :smile:
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#12 Episure

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 05:03 PM

Saffron, Cardamom and Almonds ground with milk and sugar = Thandai. :wub:

It's a great Indian Milk shake, for want of a better description.
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#13 chromedome

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 12:52 AM

I will have to dig out the recipe, it's not in my computer, for a saffron butter sauce for lobster
(langoustine in saffron butter sauce) a recipe taught in my first class on French cooking, many, many years ago, by Chef Gregoire. 
It has been quite a few years since I even thought of it but I know it included cream and butter, the saffron, of course, and white wine.  It had either garlic or shallot, maybe something else.  I am so glad you mentioned this.  I haven't thought of this for years.  An old friend. 

I also make a Saffron cake, a Cornish traditional type cake.  Keeps well.

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Oooooohhhhh...sounds good. I seldom spring for lobster (what can I say, I'm a Nova Scotian...we sell those to the tourists), but I'm thinking it would be damned good on halibut. The Cornish cake sounds interesting, too.

I have a dish that involves a puree of cauliflower, cardamom, saffron, and chorizo, also tons of heavy cream and butter.  It is quite luxurious, beautiful in color, and potent and full in flavor.

If you dislike cauliflower I imagine one could make it with potatos as well.

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Potatoes. Definitely potatoes. And we just happen to have some pretty decent chorizo at work right now (where I get a staff discount on purchases, mwahhahahhaahh...).

Saffron, Cardamom and Almonds ground with milk and sugar = Thandai.  :wub:

It's a great Indian Milk shake, for want of a better description.

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I always have almonds and cardamom in the house. That sounds really good. I'd assume you steep the saffron in the milk for a time, first? Or is this one of those dishes where the milk is simmered for a while with the aromatics?

Thank you all for the suggestions. I'll let you all know what I make, and how it turned out (perhaps even pictures, if I can coax a few decent shots out of my cheesy bottom-end digital camera).
Fat=flavor

#14 Episure

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 08:41 AM

I always have almonds and cardamom in the house.  That sounds really good.  I'd assume you steep the saffron in the milk for a time, first?  Or is this one of those dishes where the milk is simmered for a while with the aromatics?


Thandai for two:

20 almonds blanched and peeled
2 Cardamoms peeled
Sugar to taste (about 4 tablespoons)
1 1/2 glass chilled milk
about 10 strands of saffron steeped for a few hours in 3 tablespoons of hot milk

Grind everything to a fine paste gradually adding the chilled milk. Serve with ice cubes in a tall glass.

The real version calls for some black pepper and rose petals but you may want to skip that.
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#15 vesnuccia

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 08:46 AM

pasta with cream, speck and saffran (eag pasta-papardelle or tagliatelle)
risotto milanese
risotto monzese (same as milanese but with sausages with finocchieto)
arancini
sweet pea creamy soup with lardo and saffran

#16 mklynch

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 08:50 AM

Saffron / Ginger Ice Cream! Sounds weird, but it's really good.

#17 jackal10

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 08:57 AM

Saffron breads and buns are traditional for Easter.
Saffron buns "Revel Buns" pre-date hot cross buns.
Makey your usual current bun, or fruit bread, but infuse a pinch of saffron in the water you make it with.

#18 lmarshal1

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 12:21 PM

I received a gift of a jar of saffron just today...so...pleased to find this thread. I have never used it. Is it generally infused in liquid? Crushed if using just a pinch? Is it good used to flavor rice? (I am amazed at how expensive it is, but obviously labor intensive to harvest!) lkm

#19 eunny jang

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 01:06 PM

A well-connected friend Stateside has sent me a full ounce of quality Spanish saffron.  I've been out to the kitchen three times in the last two hours to take off the lid and sniff it and giggle to myself in sheer delight.

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Sprinkle it in your bed and roll naked in it.

<sigh>

As long as we're being decadent, make a saffron aioli with eggs, or without if you're a purist. Either way, make it in a mortar and pestle. Pound a garlic clove to a paste with a little salt as an abrasive. Add an egg yolk (if using) and stir to combine. Add delicious olive oil, a drop at a time, until the emulsion is thick, stable and opaque. Add a pinch of saffron, crumbled and steeped in a few drops of hot water, only once the mayonnaise appears stable. Add more oil if you want; season with a stream of lemon if it needs it.

Put it on potatoes, fish, eggs, breakfast cereal...

#20 FaustianBargain

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 01:30 PM

I received a gift of a jar of saffron just today...so...pleased to find this thread.  I have never used it.  Is it generally infused in liquid?  Crushed if using just a pinch?  Is it good used to flavor rice?  (I am amazed at how expensive it is, but obviously labor intensive to harvest!) lkm

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use sparsely. infuse in milk or water. warm preferably. i never crush saffron...its wonderful to flavour rice...my favourite is sweet saffron-cardamom flavoured, creamy milk..reduced to a thick consistency...with a scattering of crushed pistachios..very rich, but lovely...

#21 lmarshal1

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 02:21 PM

use sparsely. infuse in milk or water. warm preferably. i never crush saffron...its wonderful to flavour rice...my favourite is sweet saffron-cardamom flavoured, creamy milk..reduced to a thick consistency...with a scattering of crushed pistachios..very rich, but lovely...

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Lalitha: Would I infuse the saffron in the measured liquid for my rice and then remove the saffron threads or leave them? Do you actually cook the rice in milk? lkm

#22 FistFullaRoux

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 03:02 PM

Treasure... Bath.... TREASURE BATH!!!

Yellow bubbles and everything. You know you want to try it. Put a couple of stems in your shampoo to see if it makes a difference.

Seriously, I'd make a killer perfect batch of seafood or chicken stock, infused with the saffron. Freeze, then use as needed.

Great for rice, great for cream based sauces, and great for seafood.
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#23 lmarshal1

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Posted 07 October 2004 - 03:47 AM

Anyone have a simple recipe for saffron orzo served with sauteed shrimp? For a birthday supper tonight. Thanks. lkm

#24 FaustianBargain

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Posted 07 October 2004 - 02:12 PM

Lalitha:  Would I infuse the saffron in the measured liquid for my rice and then remove the saffron threads or leave them?  Do you actually cook the rice in milk?  lkm

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its important to infuse the saffron..saffron continues to release aroma and flavour long after the infusion..so longer you allow it to stay in your cooking medium, the stronger it will become with time...so leave them, if you like the look of stringy bits...and its slow releasing flavour which gets stronger with time

also re rice..depends on how you cook your rice....when i pressure cook rice, i dont add saffron to the water or the rice...i'd rather cook it over the stove the slow way when i use saffron...

for the indian dessert of rice kheer, i cook rice with milk and saffron. you can also infuse it in warm water if you dont want your rice cooked in milk(quite unusual to cook rice in milk..i only do it for desserts)... just remember not to throw it into boiling, hot water..always infuse..you are literally boiling away your precious saffron for no effect..the extreme heat kills the delicate saffron

so yes, you can leave saffron threads and its better because of the continous release of aroma and flavour...but dont forget that boiling arrests the release of saffron's goodness...so its usually added right at the end..before you turn off the heat but after the bubbling/boiling period is over..

to sum up, for saffron rice> cook as you will cook rice..pref over the stovetop..add saffron infused water towards the end..try not to bring water/milk to a boil after saffron is added...leave the threads behind if you want a stronger flavour and dont mind the thready look...

edited to add: gosh! that was long and i kept repeating myself...sorry about that..tired.

Edited by Lalitha, 07 October 2004 - 02:14 PM.


#25 Chef Shogun

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Posted 07 October 2004 - 02:37 PM

Sprinkle it in your bed and roll naked in it.

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Treasure... Bath.... TREASURE BATH!!!

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:biggrin: :biggrin:
In other news, 'Treasure Bath' would be a great name for a soup. I already have "Beef Bordello" (Think 'bordelaise') in the works, which incidentally calls for saffron!

Edited by Chef Shogun, 07 October 2004 - 02:39 PM.

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#26 carp

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Posted 07 October 2004 - 02:46 PM

Speaking of seafood and saffron. I like to brine/defrost shrimp in a typical brine mixture that has a bit of saffron included. The shrimp absorb both the flavor and the color wonderfully…

#27 lmarshal1

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 03:41 AM

Lalitha: Thanks for the saffron seminar. I like the sound of a dessert rice cooked in milk. Will try it. I've enjoyed trying new seasonings after reading about them on e-gullet. Everyone here seems so knowledgeable and helpful. lkm

#28 FistFullaRoux

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 10:11 AM

:biggrin:  :biggrin:
In other news, 'Treasure Bath' would be a great name for a soup.  I already have "Beef Bordello" (Think 'bordelaise') in the works, which incidentally calls for saffron!

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#29 SusanNS

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 05:27 PM

My neighbour was kind enough to bring back some saffron for me after working in Azerbaijan for a while (he's a helicopter mechanic for oil rigs).

I had never actually tasted it before but have read all about it and was excited to try it out. I made saffron mashed potatoes. I figured the bland taste of the potatoes would allow the saffron flavour to come through. I steeped the saffron in some warm milk before adding it to the potatoes, was excited to see the yellow/orange colour appear and then taste - BLECHHH! It was so bitter and tinny! Did I do something wrong? Does saffron not taste good on its own? What about saffron cakes? Fish with saffron sauce? Is it an acquired taste? Anyone with a recipe that actually uses saffron and tastes good?

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#30 WHS

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 05:43 PM

Are you sure you have saffron and not turmeric? In India they sometimes use the term interchangeably. Is it a powder or thin pistil threads? If it's the real thing, you might try it on rice instead of potatoes.