I had a spending splurge yesterday. I bought something that was really, really, mindblowingly expensive. And don’t tell my husband, but I would totally buy it again…but hopefully, I won’t have to for a while. Any guesses?
Here’s what it wasn’t: it wasn’t a fancy pocketbook or sports car or a timeshare in Hawaii or botox or a boob lift (sorry) or eyelash extensions. That’s not to say that any of those things won’t eventually land on a shopping list at some point in my future….after all, a girl’s gotta dream right?
A hint: the splurge happened at Sendiks (where else do I ever go) and it was an ingredient – but it wasn’t morels from the deep dark woods, or vanilla beans from Madagascar.
Give up? All you cooks out there think very hard … but I’m sure if you’ve glanced at the photo, you’ve guessed by now.
Saffron. At almost 15.00 for the teensy weensiest little package you’ve ever seen – smaller than a teaspoon of rice, it’s definitely the most expensive spice you can possibly buy. I bit the bullet and threw it in my cart. And I passed up a bottle of wine to make up for the cost.
It was worth it. But I totally understand if you don’t feel like dropping that kind of coin to make this dish. So I did a little research, and while there is no replacement for the actual flavor of saffron (I would describe it as a little earthy and slightly bitter?), you could swap in a pinch of turmeric to help achieve a yellow similar to the photo above.
2 c. fat free chicken broth
1 – 8 oz. bottle clam juice
2 t. butter
1/4 c. chopped shallots
1/2 c. uncooked Arborio rice
1/8 t. saffron threads, crushed
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 c. grape tomatoes, halved (Organic grape tomatoes are on sale)
8 oz. bay scallops (Wild Caught Natural Bay Scallops are on sale; *see note*)
2 T. whipping cream
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional
Bring broth and clam juice to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots to pan; cook 2 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add rice and saffron to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add lemon juice to pan; cook 15 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/2 cup hot broth mixture; cook 2 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next, about 18 minutes total.
Stir in tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Stir in scallops; cook for 4 minutes or until they are opaque, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in cream. Sprinkle with parsley if desired; serve in shallow pasta bowls.
**NOTE** The original recipe called for 4 ounces each of both peeled and deveined medium shrimp AND scallops. There aren’t any shrimp on sale this week, so I decided to toss in all scallops.Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | March 31st, 2011