Madder and Madder About Saffron

Last weekend, I went skiing. It was snowy. It was cold. It was crisp. And all you really wanted was a nice cheese fondue or a croute au fromage – you know, something that’ll really stick to the bones!

As it happens, that was not on the menu, but before I even needed to stomach my disappointment, I found out we’d be having fish and shrimp in a saffron broth.

Huzzah! Fine, it is by far not a wintery dish, but as far as I’m concerned, saffron makes a sauce for all seasons.

Fast forward one week and I’m at the Migros Etrembieres digging my mind for recipe ideas for Sunday dinner. My mother constantly goes on about the shrimp at Etrembieres (which is, in fact, what brought us there this weekend). Finally an idea started gelling – shrimp in a creamy saffron sauce. Mmm mmm mmm!

So, I’ve never even seen what saffron looks like until tonight when I cracked open the package. The following recipe came from a pretty random review of recipes I found online (has Google changed Sunday dinner or what??). The idea is to use 2 tablespoons of sherry, but since my bar, as extensive as it is, does not include sherry, I substituted it with red wine and sherry vinegar. Took 20 minutes to make, and 0.5 seconds to eat!! I highly recommend you give this one a whirl:

Ingredients (for 1):

– 1/2 tablespoon of butter

– 6 jumbo shrimp

– 1 shallot

– 1/3 cup red wine

– 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

– 1/2 cup white wine

– 1 cup coconut milk

– 1/2 cup heavy cream

– 1 teaspoon of salt

– 3 shakes of cayenne pepper

– pepper to taste

And that’s it!

(Well, and the saffron of course….. two pinches shall we say?)

What to do, what to do!

Start by heating up the butter on medium-low heat in a pan. Dice the shallot and throw it in with the butter, and leave it just until it softens (a few minutes). Next, add the red wine and the sherry vinegar. Let it simmer until the pan is nearly dry. Then, add the white wine and the saffron. Stir so the saffron is evenly dispersed. Let it sit for about 5 minutes until the alcohol has evaporated. Add the coconut milk and the heavy cream, and let it simmer for another 5 or so minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce has reduced by about half. Add the salt, pepper and cayenne. The sauce is done when it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

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During this process, you’ll have time to take the heads and tails off the jumbo shrimp. I used pre-cooked shrimp, so I just threw them in the pan with the sauce at the end to heat them up.20120122-202814.jpg

Since I wasn’t so hungry tonight, I had this with half a head of steamed broccoli, and all I can say is that my palate, soul and stomach are wholly satisfied!

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Bon app!

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