Awhile ago, a friend gave me a generous portion of her saffron stash. I have scrimped and saved every little bit of those precious strands. Have you ever wondered why saffron is so expensive? These delicate little threads are derived from the stamen of crocus flowers. To make it even worse, each crocus flower only has three stamen. Kind of makes you respects those little threads, doesn’t it? I felt it was time to put those hard-earned threads to work.
Put 1/4 tsp crumbled saffron threads in a small bowl and add 1 tbsp of very hot water. Set aside.
Other recipes using saffron:
Food & Wine’s Seafood Stew with Saffron Zabaglione
David Lebovitz’s Quick Coconut Ice Cream with Saffron
Toasted Orzo with Saffron & Fennel
1/4 tsp crumbled saffron threads
1 tbsp very hot water, plus 2 1/2 cups water, divided
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups orzo (9 oz)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup chopped fennel (from 1 medium fennel bulb)
2 tbsp chopped fennel fronds
Put crumbled saffron threads in a small bowl and add 1 tbsp of very hot water. Set aside.
Heat olive in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add orzo and toast, stirring frequently, about 3-4 minutes.
Stir in the saffron mixture. Add 2 1/2 cups water and kosher salt. Cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the orzo is just tender, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat. Sprinkle the chopped fennel bulb over the cooked orzo. Cover and let the fennel soften off the heat, about 5 minutes. Stir the fennel into the orzo. Chop 2 tbsp of the fennel fronds. Serve the orzo, sprinkled with the chopped fronds.
Serves 4-6 as a side dish or 2-3 as an entree.