WHAT IS IT?
Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world!
The “threads” of saffron are dried flower pistils, harvested by hand from the flower of a Crocus sativus, commonly known as the “saffron crocus.”
With only a few pistils per flower, it takes a lot of flowers to get a small vial of saffron!
Because of its cost, many volume producers of foods that once had saffron in their recipes use other colorant spices, like paprika, or annatto/achiote, but neither have the depth of flavor, or aroma, of true saffron.
It’s still used, in some countries, to dye garments, paper, and more.
This variety of saffron spice is mellow, sweet, and floral. The aroma is irreplaceable: Musky, honeyed, floral, bitter, and intense, it is the flavorant and color basis of paella, and many other Spanish dishes. You’ll find the perfume to be intoxicating. The flavor is penetratingly husky, earthy, with notes of honey and violet. The Spanish variety of saffron is by and far the most valued.
Native to Iran, it still produces 90% of the world’s supply of saffron.
- Kashmiri lamb
- Saffron rice
A FEW IMPROVISATIONAL RIFFS:
- A saffron/seafood broth under fish for dipping/aroma;
- Pairs well with orange in my Big O Muffins;
- A couple of threads finish a seared scallop with color and flavor;
- A thinly sliced pre-brined Sous vide chicken breast with a fennel pollen dusting and a thin drizzle of Saffron oil.
Saffron’s earliest reference is in a 7th-century BC Assyrian study of botany called the Ashurbanipal. One of the top crops of the Persian Empire, it has been traded and used for over four millennia. Spain’s affinity for saffron began before the Arabic invasion of the Iberian peninsula, but it became a more common spice, as dishes that used it that are native to Persia, and North Africa, became more common.
- Autumn Crocus
- Croci Stigma
- Crocus Cultivé
- Crocus sativus
- Indian Saffron
- Saffron Crocus
- Safran Cultivé
- Safran Espagnol
- Safran des Indes
- Safran Véritable
- Spanish Saffron
- True Saffron
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