Saffron derives from the crocus flower, and is worth more than its weight in gold. Don't be put off by its very different scent (said to be like hay). When it is worked into a dish in the right amounts, it is magic. I am loving the wiki on this spice! Check it out for lot of fun chemical information (if that's up your alley).
|Saffron was originally cultivated in ancient Greece - like here in Santorini (sigh)|
Ps: My camera battery died, so not a lot of visualization here!
Helpful tools: Colander, zester (like a Microplane brand zester)
Spring Vegetable Pasta with Lemon-Saffron Butter
4 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 generous pinch of saffron threads, soaked in 1 tablespoon hot water
Salt and pepper
1/2 pound asparagus, woody ends removed, in 2 inch lengths
1/2 pound English peas (shelled, about 3/4 cup), or substitute frozen peas
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup wine or stock
Juice from 2 lemons
Zest of 2 lemons
1/2 pound fresh pasta or dry spaghetti or linguine
Grated parmesan cheese
Set large pot of water to boil on stove (this can be used for both the vegetables and pasta). Cream the butter with the prepared saffron, 1/8 teaspoon salt and a few pinches of pepper. Set aside.
If using fresh peas, boil for 1 minute, scoop from water and rinse with cool water in colander. Boil asparagus for 3 minutes, until tender crisp, and repeat as with peas. Frozen peas can be added to the saute (see below). Keep water boiling for pasta.
Heat olive oil in a large saute pan, and add shallots. Saute over medium heat for about 4 minutes, then add leeks (and frozen peas), saute for another 2 minutes. Add garlic, wine or stock and lemon juice, and saute for another minute.
|A fragrant saute of leeks, asparagus and peas, hurray for google search (food.rlove.org)|