As long as I have been cooking, saffron was always known to me as the most coveted and most valuable (money wise) spice in the world. It’s often been said that saffron is more expensive than gold by weight. Given that at Costco, the equivalent of about one tablespoon of Spanish saffron costs $10, I can only imagine how much it would cost at regular market price.

My friend recently came back from Spain and bought me a small bottle of saffron, and I’d been waiting for the “right” use for it until today, when I decided to make Persian herbed rice. I crushed the little strands into a powder and steeped the little precious bits in hot water to draw out all the aromas. And then I inhaled it. Well, it certainly smelled real.

It was absolutely nothing like the fake saffron I bought when I was in Budapest over three years ago. I got so excited when I was at a market there and found a bag of saffron for the equivalent of a few dollars, and stupidly I bought it and thought I’d gotten the best deal ever! When I got home, I prepared a finishing sauce for chicken with the “saffron” and ended up throwing all the sauce out. That “saffron” was the most bitter “herb” I’d ever added to anything I’d ever cooked. I really got what I paid for.

Never again. I’m going to relish these last few strands of saffron I have left.

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