seafood: saffron shrimp risotto

Saffron: expensive and exotic. The saffron crocus produces the world’s most costly spice. Saffron is expensive for good reason. It takes approximately 70,000 saffron crocus flowers to produce 5 pounds of stigmas which are the deep red tips that collect pollen grains within the crocus flower. The 5 pounds of stigmas then must dry in order to produce 1 pound of saffron. Because the stigmas are so delicate they must be harvested by hand and this must be done on the same day that the crocus begins to open. Today, most saffron is harvested in Iran or Spain. However the origins of the spice come from Greece or Mediterranean areas in the vicinity around the Bronze Age. The spice, like most spices, traveled trade routes to the Indian subcontinent around 500 BCE. It traveled via Arab merchants to Spain and by Crusaders who introduced it to France and England. Saffron’s... Read the Rest →