published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
It's on with saffron
Saffron is the pistol of the crocus sativus plant and is the most expensive spice it the world. The best comes from Spain, but farms can be found in the Middle East as well.
It takes about 5,000 crocus sativus flowers to make just one ounce of saffron and that's what commands a hefty price tag for products from the superior farms in Spain.
You can expect to pay at least $80 for a 1-ounce tin of Spanish Saffron, but that one tin will last a long time. With this spice, less is more. The flavors might seem very subtle at first, but as it continues to cook the flavor blossoms and becomes very present.
I do not know of any place it this area that would sell the superior Spanish saffron, but I do know that you can order a tin of it at prairieharvest.com as well as many other fine food sellers. I highly recommend checking out this website if you are into eating luxury foods.
I think I prefer saffron with seafood the best. I love to have my saffron sauce with a nice piece of fresh fish like yellowtail snapper of Alaskan salmon. This week, I included my recipe for saffron cream sauce and I recommend you make it and try it with fresh seafood or chicken. It is easy to make and only has a few ingredients. It is a great match to your favorite Chardonnay.
1 qt. heavy cream
Saffron (about 15 threads)
1/2 cup white wine
1 tbsp. Dijon
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 tsp. chopped garlic
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Sautee the shallots and garlic until tender. Then add mustard and saffron and thyme Sautee for one minute then deglaze with wine. Reduce wine by half then add cream and reduce by one quarter.
Remove from fire and let steep for 10 minutes.
Strain through the chinois and season with salt and white pepper.
Tim Spain is System Executive Chef with Florida Hospital Heartland Medical Center and Morrison Healthcare Food Service. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org/. Guest columns are the opinion of the writer, not necessarily those of the News-Sun staff.
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