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Most of our readers at some point have cooked with Pure Saffron Farms saffron products. We’ve enjoyed dashing drinks, earthy home hewn meals and some of our fans have been using saffron as a natural medicine for things like anxiety or skin care. Today we’re going to talk about where people new to saffron can consider starting their saffron spice adventure… & with style.
Saffron is great in the way that its subtle tones can be used on really any dish… experimentally. Some are outstanding, some are a hit and admittedly, a few are a bit of a miss; such is life behind a cooking element.
It’s actually hard to find a meat that has absolutely no affinity with saffron. Roast chicken with saffron basted skin is amazing, add some lemon and a few other choice spices and you’re off to a great finish. Pork can sometimes be a picky meat for spices to pair with, but slow cooked saffron pork is delectable. Wild game such as rabbit can be paired with saffron for a recipe that hails straight from medieval Europe. Don’t even get us started on seafood’s and paella - these are pairings that were born to be together. Perhaps the toughest pairing is beef, but if you think about beef in the context of a stew or a curry, “Saffron Avenue” is wide open for experimentation again.
Below are the staple meats, followed by recipe keywords you can easily search & browse in Google separated by comma. All of these can be expected to pair well with your saffron spice.
Minced beef curry with saffron, saffron infused steak, Persian beef stew, saffron beef brisket, grilled saffron beef kebab
Chivalry and class are not quite dead yet; wine and food pairings still have a place at traditional family tables, upscale restaurants and chic dinner parties, yet wine pairing can be an almighty delicate task. Our first bit of advice would be to know what your guests prefer. Most of us have that one friend who refuses to drink XYZ wine, despite how well it might pair. Having said that, saffron tends to pair well with lighter white wines - in a very broad generalization it doesn’t always go so well with a heavy red. For an in depth look at how technical any food pairing can be check out these two saffron dishes and what wine aficionado Ilenia B and renowned wine expert Fiona Beckett have to say about the dishes. We can talk about saffron all day long, but when it comes to wine pairings, it would be best to consult the experts for first class answers.
When cooking with saffron there are always a few good bets. Saffron goes well with milk or cream. It pairs well with apples and almonds, honey and citrus fruits. Raw sprinkles of saffron threads have a slight, surprisingly crunchy texture. Sprinkling these sparingly on top of a desert can provide those one or two bites that everyone keeps looking for more of; using them sparingly is a highly addictive desert strategy.
The spices that go well with saffron are a lineup of old classics, many from the old world. Paprika, cilantro, rosemary, thyme, cumin and turmeric are core flavor weapons you can run in the same dish with your saffron recipes.
Saffron is versatile in both food and drink. For something light like an afternoon tea, you can mix the saffron into piping hot water in advance to extract the color and flavor, mix with a dash of honey or lemon. Green tea if you desire some caffeine in your drink. For those that love a tea before bed but don’t want the caffeine careening though their veins just eliminate the green tea. Saffron is not caffeinated and won’t keep you counting sheep until that old farmer runs out of them. There are a multitude of easily searchable saffron tea recipes on the internet that range from modern, to traditional, and differ in how the saffron is used, blended into the drink, or as a topical dash of flavor at the end of preparation.
As a juice, saffron can be devastatingly addictive. With boiled water, take a sugar element, take a sour element, add the saffron and then chill to near freezing. If you go slowly enough, there is no “point of no return”. You will eventually find the sour, sweet, saffron balance you’re looking for. It tastes like you ran lemonade through a bunch of fresh forest nettles; outstanding.
Where there’s juice, there are cocktails. Saffron lends itself to hard alcohol drinks and cocktails that are of a clear and less sugary nature after distillation. If you have an eye for preparation and presentation, try a half inch layer of crushed ice on the top of the drink, served in a short glass with a wider base. Of course, make sure the saffron juice element is chilled to near freezing & the glasses are freezer chilled as well, or you will end up with water world…and to this day, nobody wants water world.
Do you have any unique food & wine pairings you would like to share with us? Please let us know in the comments below.