The Foodie Files: I’m Just Mad About Saffron (Maybe…)

Shrimp with lemon-saffron rice. Sounds yummy, no? Actually, it was the photo that sucked me in. What can I say—I’m a very visual person. I was paging through my January issue of Cooking Light, ripping things out left and right (it was a great issue!) when I came across this recipe filed under ‘Super Fast! 20-Minute Recipes.’ Now that’s my kind of meal. Plus, in keeping with my “cook more” 12 in 2012 goal, I figured why not? Check it out: Shrimp with Lemon-Saffron Rice. See, that picture is getting to you now too, isn’t it?

For the average person, this recipe would have indeed taken 20 minutes to make. However, I am not the average person. In Natalie-time, it took around an hour because A) I wanted to use up the rice I had which was not the quick-cook kind, so that alone took a good 40 minutes and B) I’d never cooked with saffron before. Note to self: look up how to use a new item BEFORE you start cooking so you don’t have to turn burners off and literally stop everything in order to figure out how to prep said new item (not that I’m speaking from experience or anything here).

Everything started off great: I put on some Elton John (it’s my traditional Saturday night cooking jams, don’t judge), popped open a Laughing Fox (woot woot, Wisconsin beer!), mentally cut the recipe in half—it’s just me, myself, and I, after all—and started ad libbing. The only thing I did differently was eliminate the green pepper. I just didn’t think it went with everything else. Things were cooking up quite well…and then it was saffron time. After about 10 minutes of frantically searching the internet for how to cook with saffron, I put some of the threads in a little bowl and tried my best to cut/smash them. Hey, when you don’t own a mortar and pestle (which, apparently, is how one should crush saffron?), you gotta make do with what you got. The dish had that lovely yellow hue, though in the photo below you can still see the red saffron threads. Oops.

Despite all the spices in the recipe, it turned out incredibly bland and I’m not sure why. Even with my slight ad libbing on quantities, I followed the recipe step by step. Between the paprika, oregano, and saffron, I figured it would be pretty flavorful. But alas, it was not. It wasn’t terrible by any means, just kind of blah and I’m not sure I’d make it again. Now I just have to find another recipe that calls for saffron…

One thought on “The Foodie Files: I’m Just Mad About Saffron (Maybe…)

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  1. Was the saffron on special at Trader Joes or did you have to sell something to pay for it? Hah! It’s expensive stuff, Natalie! Best if used in hot cross buns like my grandmother used to make.

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