Measuring saffron

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Because the price of saffron is so high, this is one ingredient that could have you reaching for the measuring spoon. But how do you balance all those unruly threads in the tiny bowl of a quarter-teaspoon? Not very well. That's why saffron is best measured in increments not of teaspoons, but of pinches. But how do you measure a pinch? Basically a small pinch equals about 20 threads; a medium pinch about 35; a large pinch about 50. And since saffron can overpower a dish, it's better to err on the light side.

To enhance saffron's flavor before adding it to a dish. toast it in a small skillet over medium heat for about a minute, until you begin to smell its distinctive aroma. Grind the toasted threads into a powder with a mortar and pestle or crumble them between your fingers right into the dish.

Saveur May-June 1995

Submitted By DIANE LAZARUS On 08-23-95

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