Saffron Rice with Caramelized Onions, Slivered Almonds & Currants
Saffron, one of the most precious and valued spices in the world, is hand-harvested from crocus flower yields a distinct flavor and brilliant golden-yellow hue. Softening the saffron in hot water extends the reach of flavor and color, making a little go a long way. The saffron in this rice dish is complimented by the smoky-sweet of caramelized onions and crispy almonds and currants bring the magic-carpet-ride-flavors together.
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
3/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
2 tablespoons boiling-hot water
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup slivered almonds (2 ounces)
1 medium onion, chopped (1-1/2 to 2 cups)
1-1/2 cups white or brown basmati rice (19 ounces)
2-1/4 to 3 cups filtered water (2-1/4 cups of water for white basmati, 3 cups for brown basmati)
1 organic bullion cube, no salt or low-sodium
1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup dried currants (2 ounces)
Soften saffron in hot water (2 tablespoons) in a small bowl.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers.
Fry almonds, stirring frequently, until golden, about 3 minutes.
Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and sautï¿½ onion until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer half of onion to a bowl.
Add rice to onion in pot and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add water, bullion cube, saffron mixture, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until water is absorbed and rice is tender - 18 to 20 minutes for white basmati or 35 to 45 minutes for brown basmati. Let rice stand, covered, off heat 5 minutes.
While rice stands, stir almonds and currants into bowl with onion.
Fluff rice with a fork and serve with almond mixture spooned on top.
Store leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the fridge.
To re-heat, warm in a saucepan with a few tablespoons of water to re-moisten rice.