Just a pinch of the warm and musky aroma of the saffron, with the typical smell of cut hay and slightly metallic, to transform a dish.
Appreciated since the Bronze Age, saffron is one of the most popular spices in the kitchen because it goes perfectly with first courses, vegetables, meat, fish. But its use is very versatile: it is said that Cleopatra used it to enrich the donkey milk with which she bathed, the Buddhist monks used it to dye their tunics, the Greeks and Romans used it for therapeutic purposes.
Ayurvedic medicine considers it a good remedy for treating asthma and uses it as calming and sedative. Saffron is a perennial plant of the same family as Iris, it grows up to 15 cm tall and blooms in autumn.
Saffron goes well with paprica which gives earthy aromas, with black pepper that increases the bitter taste, with ginger and bay leaf for a mix with a warm and penetrating aroma.
Saffron, the winning combinations
- Vegetables. Saffron has a particular affinity for earthy vegetables, such as carrots, leeks, mushrooms, squash and spinach. Color and intensify the flavor of the potatoes.
- Fish and shellfish. Soak the fish in milk and saffron, or add the stigmas to marinara mussels or Marseille boullabaisse.
- Latte. Infuse the spice in milk to make Indian puddings and ice cream.
Thus enhances the aroma of saffron
Crush the stigmas in a mortar before soaking them to speed up the release of the compounds.
Soak it in boiling water for at least 20 minutes, up to 24 hours.
Use milk fats to dissolve secondary flavor molecules.
A recipe with saffron to try
Spiced scallops with saffron beurre blanc
Ingredients for people 6
For the mushrooms and spicy dressing: 200 g button mushrooms, fennel seeds, ginger powder, salt
For the beurre blanc: a pinch of saffron stigmas, 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, 4 tablespoons of white wine, 1 chopped shallot, 175 g butter in pieces, black peppercorns, juice of ½ lemon For the scallops: 12 scallops large, extra virgin olive oil, 4 tablespoons of mix of mushrooms and spices, chopped chives
Crush the saffron stigmas in a mortar until you get a powder and leave it to soak in 2 teaspoons of hot water for an hour. Preheat the oven to 120 ° C. Finely slice the mushrooms and spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Cook until the mushrooms are crisp. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and toast the fennel seeds for a minute, then pound them to make a powder. Blend the mushrooms with the fennel, ginger and salt. Now make the beurre blanc. Pour the vinegar and wine into a saucepan, add the chopped shallot and peppercorns. Bring to a boil and continue over low heat for 4-6 minutes, until the liquid has reduced to 1-2 tablespoons and looks like a syrup. Filter the liquid and remove the shallot.
Add the saffron with its water and beat with a whisk. Return the liquid to the rinsed pot and cook over low heat, adding the butter and continuing to stir. The sauce needs to thicken. Season, add lemon juice and keep warm. Heat a skillet. Brush both sides of the scallops with olive oil and coat them with a light layer of the spiced mushroom mix. Cook 1-2 minutes on each side. Divide the beurre blanc into 6 bowls and arrange 2 scallops in each. Sprinkle with chives.
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