SAFFRON, THE 'RED GOLD' IN THE KITCHEN

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INGREDIENTS FOR 4 PEOPLE

Lasciar riposare i pistilli di zafferano in infusione con acqua molto calda.
Portare a cottura il riso con brodo vegetale.
A termine cottura aggiungere lo zafferano. Una volta mantecato il riso, guarnire il piatto con polvere o tartufo fresco.
Un risotto con tutta l’essenza del fiore e …nient’altro.

PREPARATION

Also known as "red gold" in the kitchen, saffron is - by definition - the most precious spice and one of the most expensive spices in the world, due to its extremely long and difficult processing. The harvest period normally goes from mid-October to mid-November and its stigmas are picked exclusively by hand, one by one, following a very delicate procedure. Giving an example, if you want to obtain one kilo of this spice, then you will need one hundred and twenty thousand flowers! Saffron flowers are of a beautiful violet colour for a number of 3 or 5 petals for each plant. Saffron is obtained from the dried stigmas of “Crocus sativus”, the flower that is also known as real saffron, a plant belonging to the Iridaceae family; more specifically this term derives from the Arabic “zaʿfarān”, a word indicating the crocus. Saffron was first documented in a 7th-century B.C. Assyrian botanical treatise and since then it has been traded and used for over four millennia. Approximately 150 flowers together can yield 1 gram of dried saffron threads. It is by befinition the “precious spice”, counted among the most expensive in the world. Its typical golden-yellow colour we use in our dishes and as a fabric dye is due to the crocin, a carotenoid pigment. Iran currently produces around 90% of the world total for saffron, but even in Italy we can boast excellence of this production; notably in Sardinia, Abruzzo, Umbria and obviously also in Tuscany with the Protected Designation of Origin label (PDO). Selektia saffron comes from Monteriggioni, a small town near Siena: when you have such a precious ingredient the only thing you need to do is enhance its essentiality, tasting it freshly and in purity. We can show you how to do that with the help of our chef Cristina Pistolesi.
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