Translate

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

HERBS AND SPICES 6A - SAFFRON

FROM WIKI:  Saffron's aroma is often described by connoisseurs as reminiscent of metallic honey with grassy or hay-like notes, while its taste has also been noted as hay-like and sweet. Saffron also contributes a luminous yellow-orange colouring to foods. 

Saffron is widely used in Persian, Indian, European, Arab, and Turkish cuisines. Confectioneries and liquors also often include saffron. Common saffron substitutes include safflower Carthamus tinctorius, which is often sold as "Portuguese saffron" or "açafrão"), annatto, and turmeric Curcuma longa). MY NOTE:  EVEN THOUGH THE ABOVE SUBSTITUTES ARE MENTIONED AS SUBSTITUTES I FOUND AFTER READING SEVERAL COLUMNS AND ARTICLES ON SAFFRON SUBSTITUTES THERE AREN'T REALLY ANY.  COLOR-YES; TASTE AND ODOR-NO!! I STARTED THIS SEARCH BECAUSE CHEF GZ ZAKARIAN ON "THE KITCHEN" MENTIONED TURMERIC AND PAPRIKA AS SUBSTITUTES. 

If you really want the real taste of saffron you need to buy it. Luckily last year it was cut to half price at the local grocery store because apparently no one was buying it so I bought 4 and gave one away.  I am very familiar with the tastes below and after tasting my saffron it was easy to see that none of the supposed substi-tutes below would work with flavor only the color. 

  • TASTE OF SAFFLOWER:  Safflower has been describe as "bastard saffron". AFFLOWER HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS "BASTARD" SAFFRON. A DIFFERENCE IN TASTE. A reviewer said:  This product is not even remotely similar to saffron. I have bought it, used it and found it to have no flavor, just color (actually, worse than just color, the fibers have a chewy texture that does not go away after cooking). Using just tumeric if you can't afford saffron is a better alternative. (See turmeric below)
  • TASTE OF ANNATTO OR ACHIOTE: Peppery not honey or hay-like.  
  • TASTE OF TURMERIC:  Dried turmeric is earthier and slightly bitter, with notes of mustard and horseradish and a medicinal powdery aftertaste, especially if overused." 
  • TASTE OF PAPRIKA:  It has a pungent taste when heated that evokes its peppery origins. The red spice most familiar to Americans as a colorful garnish for deviled eggs and roast ham, paprika is made from ground bonnet pepper, or Capsicum tetragona, a relative of chili peppers and bell peppers and native to South America.

Saffron has also been used as a fabric dye, particularly in China and India, and in perfumery. It is used for religious purposes in India, and is widely used in cooking in many cuisines, ranging from the Milanese risotto of Italy, the paella of Spain, the bouillabaisse of France, to the biryani with various meat accompaniments in South Asia. One of the most esteemed use for saffron is in the preparation of the Golden Ham, a precious dry-cured ham made with saffron from San Gimignano.

THE BEST SAFFRON IS $129 AN OUNCE OR SO!!  BUT YOU DON'T NEED AN OUNCE.  BUY LESS. YOU ONLY NEED A FEW STRANDS OF SAFFRON TO GE THE FLAVOR AND YOU SHOULD SOAK THE STRANDS IN WATER, EVEN OVERNIGHT, TO IMPART THE BEST FLAVOR. LOOK FOR SALES ON LINE!!

No comments:

Post a Comment