Cooking with Saffron

During my crazy cooking marathon a few weeks back, I was making recipes from across the board.  I randomly decided to make a recipe from one of my favorite new cookbooks, Martha Stewart's Dinner at Home.  She divides the book into seasonal recipes, and each menu has an appetizer, main course, and dessert.  The interesting thing about my choice, is that the recipe called for saffron, which I had never cooked with before.  When I took the first bite, I was taken aback as saffron has a very distinct flavor which I was not used to, but after adapting my palate, this dish was really satisfying and well-rounded.  I decided to make the dessert as well, which only required assembling, yet it was a lovely way to round out the meal.  

{Pearl couscous with saffron broth and prawns}

{Greek yogurt, clementines, and pistachios}

I pretty much followed the recipe except for one ingredient.  We unfortunately had no golden raisins in the pantry so we had to do without but I will most definitely include them next time as they would add a nice texture and flavor to the dish.

Shrimp in Saffron Broth (From Martha Stewart's Dinner at Home)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 2 cups)
3 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads (It's important to use good quality, real saffron. It's expensive but a little goes a long way)
1 1/2 pounds large (21 to 25 count) large shrimp (deveined and peeled)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
Pearl Couscous (I just cook quickly over the stove according to package directions and season with salt and pepper) (If you have golden raisins, add them here)

Heat a large saute pan over medium. Add oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Cook fennel, carrots, and saffron until vegetables are starting to soften, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes.

Season shrimp with salt and pepper; add to pan and cook 1 minute, then turn shrimp. Pour in wine and stock, and cook just until shrimp are pink and opaque throughout, about 2 minutes.

Serve shrimp, vegetables, and broth over couscous in shallow bowls.

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