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Saffron and recipies using it

Saffron Yellow, Yet Not Necessarily Mellow
It’s the only spice that you see, you smell, and you taste with such power..
That power can make saffron the most intimidating spice in your kitchen, but, as I found from cooking with saffron, its power dictates a sparing hand. Saffron works fine with seafood, poultry, vegetables, grains, fruits and even pork, but not with beef or lamb.Those meats are so strong that the saffron gets lost
Many cookbooks call for too much saffron. When I began looking at recipes,and saw the amounts of saffron called for I realized they were basically all wrong.. They’d call for two grams for a flan. You could make 60 servings of flan with two grams!”
Tiny amount can have a significant impact. The trick lies in extracting all the flavor and color from the potent threads.
When making vegetable and rice paella suffused with saffron color and flavor use pulverized threads and steep them in warm water before adding them to the rice.
It is wondrous to see what happens when you put powdered saffron into a cup of warm water instead of whole threads. The whole threads create patches of color — a mini-halo around each filament. With powdered saffron you get a deep orange liquid almost immediately. The taste of the saffron threads is, also, uniformly distributed. To achieve deep color in a rice dish, add saffron at the beginning of a recipe. You may lose just a bit of taste, but the color, seductively vibrant, will be fixed.
To make your own powdered saffron
I recommend toasting whole threads in a microwave set on high for 30 seconds, then grinding them in a mortar and pestle, or with a spoon in a cup.
You can also buy powdered saffron. But, whether powdered or whole threads, saffron, like all things organic, has a shelf life. After a year or so, it begins to lose it potency. So, if you’ve had some saffron quietly oxidizing in your spice rack for 10 years — which is the case with many of us — you should just toss it.
Another way to create saffron liquid is to put the whole threads in a pot of slowly simmering water. In 20 minutes you will have extracted most of the flavor and color from the threads.
Saffron quality can vary.
Try to buy saffron that lists certification by the International Standards Organization, which measures the levels of three important components of saffron. Crocine is responsible for color, picrocrocine produces the slightly bitter taste, and safranal gives off saffron’s distinctive aroma. The organization also limits moisture to no more than 12 percent of the product’s weight, to prevent purveyors from charging saffron prices for water weight.
You can also rely on your senses. Look for saffron with long unbroken threads. They should be a deep orange-red. Yellow threads are a part of the stigma that have no flavor.
If it’s possible before you buy, feel the saffron. If it is sticky, someone may have added sugar to give more weight. Good saffron has a clean aroma. If the smell is like rotten grass, it is probably old and been exposed to too much humidity.
Given all of saffron’s virtues, if it’s neglected, it’s probably because of its price. But even though it can cost as much as $90 an ounce none of the recipes I ever made called for more than a dollar’s worth.
So fear of bankruptcy is no longer a reason for home chefs to wait for the “right moment.”
And as the writer Norman Douglas once noted, perhaps only half seriously, “A man who is stingy with the saffron is capable of seducing his own grandmother.”

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