The Edmond Sun

Food

June 18, 2012

Just mad about not-so-mellow smell of saffron

WIRE — Many, many years ago, my first experience with saffron turned into love at first scent. Saffron, although pungent at first, adds a wonderful floral note to dishes once cooked. It’s the world’s most expensive spice, and no wonder. Saffron comes from the dried stigmas of a purple crocus, and each flower has only three stigmas, which must be hand-picked.

It takes more than 14,000 of those tiny stigmas to make an ounce of saffron.

At Penzeys Spices in Beverly Hills, a half-gram jar of Spanish saffron runs $8.49-$9.59. Other varieties from India or Kashmir cost upward of $13 for a half-gram.

It may be expensive, but it’s used sparingly. A pinch goes a long way because saffron is so aromatic.

A friend once told me how disappointed she was the first time she bought saffron at a major grocery store for a lobster bisque recipe. It was in an envelope, inside a jar. When she opened the envelope and saw what little was there, she thought she’d been short-changed considering the price. She hadn’t been.

Saffron looks like a small, tangled mess of red threads. The redder the threads, the higher the quality, though sometimes there are a few yellow threads, too. You can crush the tiny threads and add them directly to what you re making, or you can steep them first in a small amount of liquid.

One well-known use of saffron is in the Spanish dish paella (pie-AY-uh). It’s used not only for flavor, but to tint the rice. Saffron also is used in risottos (a creamy rice dish) and in some seafood bisques.

Paella typically has an array of ingredients: chicken (usually thighs), smoked sausage or Spanish chorizo, seafood (shrimp, clams, mussels) and vegetables. A paella pan is wide and shallow. But any large skillet with a lid that can hold all the ingredients will do.

Paella seems like a lot of work, and many paella recipes have a laundry list of ingredients. But that’s what makes the dish great, especially for a party. It’s a huge mix of ingredients and flavors that meld incredibly well. You can make paella with all seafood or all chicken, or add more of your favorite vegetables.

Today’s recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine. It goes together in less than an hour. Instead of using chicken thighs and Spanish chorizo, it calls for precooked chicken sausage. Use one that is plain without a lot of seasonings or cheese. I also used shrimp because that’s what I had on hand, but you can add clams, mussels or even lobster. Just be sure to add them toward the end so they don’t overcook.

Text Only
Food
  • Shopping smarter for family necessities can help the environment

    There’s a growing trend among consumers to make choices reflecting the goals and values that matter to them most.  In fact, two out of five people say they’re more inspired to try a natural product that does something good for themselves, their family and the planet, according to a recent study conducted by Toluna for natural products brand Tom’s of Maine.

    July 21, 2014

  • Back to school lunch Build a better bag

    Brown bag lunches and back to school go hand in hand. As you’re gearing up for the start of a new school year, it’s the perfect time to stock the pantry with healthy sack lunch options and after school snacks, too.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kids Cook Simple ways canned foods get children cooking

    When it comes to teaching children about healthy eating habits, there’s no better classroom than the kitchen.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Garden Vegetable Spring Rolls The Canebrake offers summer recipe for Garden Vegetable Spring Rolls

    The Canebrake, a destination hotel and spa in Wagoner, is offering the following recipe from its restaurant for Garden Vegetable Spring Rolls with Avocado Wasabi Puree.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fruits and Veggies Tips to increase your fruit and vegetable intake

    It’s no secret that the vitamins and minerals found in fruits and vegetables are a key to good health — from building immunity, to decreasing inflammation, to helping you maintain a healthy weight.
    Luckily, there are many ways to ensure you incorporate a sufficient amount of produce in your diet to fuel your day and help you feel great.

    June 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Comic books and thoroughbreds, inspired by wine

    Outside the Bay Area, few wine enthusiasts realize that California’s wine scene is incredibly welcoming.

    June 23, 2014

  • Wines of the West slated for June 7

    Stockyards City presents the fifth annual Wines of the West festival on Saturday. The event takes place from noon to 4 p.m. and features wine tasting in an Old West environment. The stockyards area of Oklahoma City has been active for more than 100 years offering western wear, entertainment and ambience. Stockyards City is on the National Register of Historic Places and still has weekly live cattle auctions.
    Ten wineries will provide samples of a variety of locally produced wines. The wineries participating are: Plain View Winery, Stable Ridge Winery, Wood & Waters, Oak Hills Winery, The Range Winery, Whirlwind Winery, Summerside Winery, Canadian River Winery, Base Vines and Cattle and Wakefield Winery. Tasting will be available as visitors browse retail shops in Stockyards City. Food vendors will be set up in the street for convenience.

    June 3, 2014

  • Wine tasting event raises awareness about Y’s international programs

    The YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City will present its eighth annual international wine taste event, A Taste Of Culture, at Café do Brazil on Sunday. The event helps raise funds to support the Y’s international partnerships with YMCAs in Belo Horizonte, Brazil; the Czech Republic; Valparaiso, Chile; the Mexican Federation of Ys; and the Sioux Indians

    June 2, 2014

  • BBQ Tips to make great summer barbecues on a budget

    It’s time for fun outdoor afternoons spent with family and friends.

    May 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • At wine-focused restaurants, embrace the unknown

    “Representing real people who make real wine has always been very important to me,” explained Danny Fisher, the general manager and beverage director of Ripple, a wine-focused restaurant in Washington, D.C. “When you’re drinking wine — or any kind of beverage, really — you want to know that someone has put time and effort into it. It shouldn’t be mass produced, toyed with or manipulated.”

    May 19, 2014