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Home Cooking 22

I Don't Know How to Apply Saffron

Jim Leff | Oct 21, 2013 06:22 PM

One of the greatest food memories from my childhood is the yellow rice an older cousin used to make. It was buttery, moist, and redolent of saffron. It's one of my many madeleines/rosebuds.

But while I've never tried to recreate that dish (I suspect it would involve way more butter than I'd be comfortable using), I have been craving the flavor of saffron. So I bought some good stuff from Penzeys (stored well, smells great), and over the last few months I've been trying to add it to rice dishes and other grainy things. I had dreams of yellow pasta, so I worked it into a sauce then finished pasta in it. I've done all sorts of things. And everything always winds up either not tasting like saffron at all, or tasting just barely of it. Mostly not at all.

The obvious solution is to use more of it. But I'm at the point where I'm adding way more to a dish for two than I've seen Spanish chefs add to entire large paellas (which invariably come out intoxicatingly saffrony). I'm really going hog wild with the saffron. But still, even when there's detectable saffron flavor, it's not that delectable deep rich saffron flavor. Which, paradoxically, is exactly how my saffron, itself, smells.

I mostly add it with cooking liquid, crushed up somewhat, and stir in thoroughly. That's how you do it right?

Any suggestions?

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