Many people who know me also know that I love to cook. In fact, one of my favorite things to do is host a dinner party for a few dozen friends, complete with theme ingredient, homemade menu, and custom cocktail.
This year I decided to start my own herb garden. With the exception of the chives that never quite managed to grow properly, the rosemary, cilantro and especially the sweet basil were phenomenal.
You'd be surprised what happens to ordinary pizza when you bake it over a charcoal grill and top it off with fresh basil. Even the frozen store-bought stuff is instantly transformed into something beyond delicious.
It's fall now, and all of my herbs have withered up for the year. Even the rosemary--which is supposed to be evergreen--just couldn't bear the Indian summer weather here in Tennessee, and finally gave up.
|My two saffron planters, sitting comfortably|
on a sunny dining room window sill.
© Martin Kozicki
Saffron is an expensive spice. In fact, it's the most expensive spice in the world. In local grocers, I've seen a small container priced as high as $40! So growing my own made sense. From what I gleaned from the planting instructions, each saffron flower will produce three edible stigma, which are clipped and used in cooking. Being extremely potent, even one stigma is enough to flavor an entire dish.
To paraphrase the Bard, herein lies the (spice) rub. I've never cooked with saffron before. I know it is used extensively in many Central American, Middle Eastern, and Asian dishes. But, assuming it actually flowers and doesn't die a horrible death, this will be my first experience using it in my kitchen.
So, I'm looking for some good recipes that make fine use of this pricey little plant. Feel free to email me, or share them in the comments. If I make your recipe, and love it, I'd be happy to reciprocate!