I’ve been duped.

Somewhere along the line I heard something that was stated as fact. I internalized it as fact. I quoted it as fact. I’ve quoted it often as fact. Now, I find I was wrong and it is time to come clean.

“By weight, saffron is worth more than gold.”

Yup. I’ve said it and believed it, but it isn’t. It is, however, the costliest spice in the world. Saffron comes from the crocus plant and as each plant only produces so few flowers and as there are so few saffron threads per flour, AND as it is so fragile, saffron is very expensive to harvest. Because of that it is often sold in tiny fractions of an ounce (often less than a gram).  See the analysis here.

Saffron Scallop Gratin

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While it is tiny, the saffron adds a distinct color and flavor to any dish. It helps to make this one a feast of the eyes and mouth!

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Generally my scallop dishes are sautéed, so this was a change for me.

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Get the breadcrumb mixture ready.

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By soaking the saffron threads in water, you can really bring out more color and flavor.

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I used my non-stick cast iron for the dish.

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Fry the aromatics (onions and carrots).

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Add the liquids and saffron.

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Scallops and breadcrumbs.

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One side became a little done.

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Such a hearty, delicious dish!

Saffron Scallop Gratin

prep 0 hours 25 minutes ∙ cook 0 hours 25 minutes ∙ makes 4 servings ∙ difficulty Easy ∙ source M.foodnetwork.com

1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Kosher salt
Pinch of saffron threads
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds large scallops (muscles removed), rinsed and patted dry
1 small onion, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat the broiler. (If possible, position the broiler rack 3 inches from the heat.) Mix the breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon olive oil, the parsley and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Soak the saffron in a separate small bowl with 1 tablespoon water.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Add the scallops, season with salt and sear until golden, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook 1 more minute; transfer to a plate (do not wipe out the skillet).

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the skillet. Add the onion and carrots, season with salt and cook until the onion is soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and paprika and stir until toasted, about 1 minute. Add the wine, scrape up any browned bits and cook until the liquid is almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Stir in 1 1/2 cups water, the saffron and soaking water, and any juices from the plate of scallops. Bring to a simmer and cook until about 1/4 inch of liquid remains, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt.

Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the butter until melted. Return the scallops to the skillet, transfer to the broiler and cook, rotating the skillet as needed, until the scallops are firm, 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle the scallops with the breadcrumb mixture and continue to broil until browned, 1 to 2 more minutes, rotating as needed.

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Categories: Fried, Main Dish 3, Middle Eastern, Recipes, Seafood, Vegetable4, Wine

Author:The Ranting Chef

Check out the best recipes at rantingchef.com

One Comment on “Duped”

  1. December 14, 2014 at 6:20 am #

    Because so much saffron was being stolen here in Sweden, with sometimes whole boxes being taken, supermarkets started an “ask for your saffron at the checkout” policy.


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