saffron2Saffron has always been one of the spices I’ve always been intrigued with.  The cost of saffron is what initially caught my attention, how can those little red, delicate strands cost $1000 per pound??  This sounded ridiculous to me until I researched further and discovered what saffron is and how it is harvested.  It is the stamen of the saffron crocus flower which is carefully hand picked.  Now can you imagine having to hand pick 1 lb of saffron and how long it will take to do so??  You too would be selling it for that price.  I was able to pick up 0.014 oz at my supermarket for $3.  It’s a tiny amount but you only need a little of this amazing ingredient to achieve that incredible flavor and distinct yellow color.  Aside from the cost saffron has an incredible and undeniable flavor, it boasts a bold flavor.  When you cook with saffron, you know that it’s there!

This is my first recipe using saffron.  I decided to keep it simple and not too fussy, I really wanted to taste the flavor of the saffron.  I didn’t want it to have to compete with any other  spices so I made a simple saffron rice with summer peas.  In my opinion this is a great, light and flavorful summer side dish that will go great along side any meat.  Enjoy!

Rice with Saffron and Green Peas

1 small onion

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 cup parboiled rice

1/2 cup frozen green peas

1/2 tsp saffron strands

2 1/2 cups chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

Place saffron strands in 1/2 cup of warm water, set aside. On a medium fire, sauteed 1 small onion in 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Cook until tender, add garlic.  Cook for 1 minute, add rice.  Stir rice to coat with  butter and olive oil, cook for 1 minute.  Add water with saffron, chicken stock , salt and pepper to rice and stir, this prevents the rice from clumping.  Bring pot to a boil, then turn heat down to low and cover pot.  Simmer rice for 15 mins, then add frozen peas. Cook for an additional 15 to 20 mins or until all the water has obsorbed.  Remove from heat and eat!