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.
Posted by Leah DamronLeah Damron is an avid home cook who believes in using the freshest ingredients available, and she challenges herself weekly to create meals out of (mostly!) sale items. If Sendik's ever gave a title for "Biggest Fan", she believes she would win, hands down. Leah lives in greater Milwaukee with her husband, three children, and her big black lab, Daisy."
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