Saffron is one of the best ways I know to make the mundane turn marvelous. Even the word is evocative. In dishes, it adds a flair like only certain other foods like white truffles can do—for much less cost (and to me, much more satisfactory effect). Ignore all the writers who say saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. It is, yes, but you use so little of it per dish that the fact is irrelevant.
The small box we're selling here will spice over a dozen dishes. That breaks down to about a buck per meal. Put a generous pinch of saffron in a simmering stock to make the base for a beautiful golden saffron risotto, perfectly marvelous paella, or fantastic fish soup. If you want to take an extra step to increase the flavor, toast the strands on a dry frying pan for a few seconds beforehand.
Our saffron is harvested on the plains of La Mancha, home to Don Quixote and still the home of the most highly regarded saffron in the world.
Zingerman's Food Tours is visiting Spain in October 2014. Join us for a behind the scenes journey to traditional food makers like this.