The wonderfully opulent spice that is Spanish Saffron actually comes from the crocus flower stigma. In the modern world, almost ¾ of it is grown on the Iberian peninsular - with the Castilla La Mancha region of Spain being something of a hotbed for its production.
All types of saffron are perceived as high quality and it’s a spice that’s also grown in places like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Italy. However, it’s the Spanish variety that represents la crème de la crème, often fetching twice as much as others on the market.
Special Preparation is Needed
Before you start cooking with Spanish saffron, it’s necessary to prepare it. To do this, you need to steep it in order for the color to properly disperse across the food it's used with.
There are a couple of ways in which you can do this:
- The Ideal Way -you’ll need to add 3 teaspoons of water for every teaspoon of saffron. It’s vital that the threads aren’t crushed as you do, but the main aim is to properly soak them. This will typically take at least 2 hours, but it can take as much as 12, during which your saffron threads will swell by around 50%.
- The Quick Way - if you don’t have time to go through this long soaking process, then it can be done more quickly. You’ll need a little more water this time: 5 teaspoons of liquid for every one of your Spanish saffron. Soaking this time should take around 20 minutes, after which you use the spoon’s convex side to mash the saffron threads into a thick paste.
So, What Can You Cook With Saffron?
The great thing about saffron is that it’s a versatile spice that can be used in a wide range of dishes. When cooked, red saffron threads turn a golden yellow color, providing the distinctive look and aromas that are familiar to many around the world.
Let’s have a look at a few of the wonderful ways you can make the most of this amazing spice…
- Saffron Chicken Korma: is there anything more satisfying and exotic than a succulent saffron chicken korma? All of the spice’s best qualities come out in this dish, with its sweet floral tones featuring prominently.
- Creamy Saffron Sauce: while not a dish in its own right, there are many meals that are enhanced with the addition of a creamy saffron sauce. For instance, a sauce with both saffron and mascarpone goes exceptionally well with some pork chops and rice!
- Sumptuous Paella: this Spanish classic features chicken, prawns, onions, garlic, tomatoes, chorizo, and of course, some high-quality saffron. Throw this dish together right and you’ll get an authentic taste of the Mediterranean.
What Will You Make With Your Spanish Saffron?
What you make with your saffron is up to you, but there are dozens of dishes that can be taken to the next level with the inclusion of this amazing spice. If our blog has whetted your appetite and you feel like trying some Mediterranean magic in your cooking, accessing top-quality saffron isn’t difficult.
All you need to do is head over to the Little Istanbul Gifts Shop, where you’ll find high-quality saffron from Spain and Iran. While you’re there, you’ll also see a wide array of herbs and spices from around the world that can be used to lend something extra special to your mealtimes.
Thanks for taking the time out to read our blog. We really appreciate it and hope that it has opened your eyes to some of the culinary possibilities you might be missing out on.