Many cooks shy away from using Saffron. An expensive spice, but well worth the outlay for a special occasion dinner.
Saffron comes from the flower of crocus sativus, but is commonly referred to as the saffron crocus. The threads are dried and very delicate to the touch. I assume harvesting is labor intensive and extremely time consuming, hence the price that accompanies it. It is commonly sold in small glass tubes and a little goes a long way. Just over a half an ounce is about $15.00 and that will last you a while.
The color is a fall-like golden, yellow hue and the aroma is, well, I cannot describe it. Perhaps, pure and beautiful, yet earthy.
I have cooked with Saffron over the years adding it to Risotto, cream sauces for fish and pasta and if I have a tube that is getting old, I would add it to soup.
Try it. Splurge and make a killer mushroom cream sauce to ladle over some Dover Sole or Grey Sole. This recipe is about 10-12 minutes beginning to end.
What you need:
- 1 pound of Grey or Dover Sole
- Shitake mushrooms sliced thin- to taste
- pinch of saffron
- boiling water
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 2 TBS of butter
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
- salt & pepper
- fresh lemon juice- just a squeeze
What to do:
Carefully remove the saffron threads, break them up into a small glass bowl. Cover the threads with a small amount of boiling water. We will come back to it.
Using a covered skillet, with an inch or two side height, melt the butter and add the garlic and mushrooms. Sauté for a few minutes until soft and you can breathe in that smell!
Add in the saffron mixture. Stir a bit to blend.
Add the cream and salt & pepper. Stir a bit more.
Slide the fish into the skillet, coating the fish with the sauce.
Cover and cook about 5-9 minutes until fish is soft. Squeeze the lemon over the pan. Now look at that beautiful color!
Serve with grilled asparagus or broccoli.