Saffron adds exotic flavor and an attractive color to both savory and sweet dishes. To get the most flavor and color, crumble saffron threads and dissolve them in a bit of water before adding to a recipe.

Saffron matches well with dairy. arifa grinds a few threads and blooms in a little water or milk, then mixes this with yogurt and sugar. Procrastibaker adds a pinch to the custard for honey-vanilla ice cream. relizabeth greases a baking dish with olive oil and sprinkles with salt, pepper, and a pinch of saffron, then tops with high-quality ricotta and more salt and pepper and bakes at 350°F for 25 minutes. Serve with salad, bread, lemon juice, and olive oil.

Saffron is also a natural with seafood: Try it in a seafood soup with fennel. JennyHunter steams mussels in a mixture of white wine, cream, shallots, garlic, and saffron, then adds a handful of fresh spinach. “Make sure you have a nice bread to soak up all of the sauce,” she advises.

More ideas: Add saffron to a basic risotto, couscous, plain basmati rice, garlic soup, or scrambled eggs; or try sautéed fennel with almonds, raisins, and saffron

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