Saffron: Inspiring the development of your restaurant menu
When we talk about a magical product such as saffron, it is important to note that this spice extracted from the stigmas of the Crocus Sativus flower is undoubtedly one of the reference gastronomic products.
Any restaurant that wants to stand out has to take this ingredient into account when developing recipes.
Saffron is magical and has a long history. It has been used since 2300 B.C. especially in the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East. They say that they began to use it in ancient Egypt and it has been produced for dyes, medicines and of course gastronomy. Let’s not forget either that saffron has a religious mystique and that it has also been present in rituals, attracting followers from ancient civilization to this days.
In the Middle Age it was a very important product and it is curious to mention that for a long time, it was the only spice cultivated in Catalonia, creating a very particular food trend in that area of Spain. This was followed later by the area of Aragon and the Valencian Community. Well known dishes such as Paella, would not be what they are today without this ingredient, which provides a very special touch and an intense and distinctive flavor.
Developing a restaurant menu is undoubtedly one of the most exciting projects when it comes to opening a restaurant. It is a creative process that determines the food identity of the hospitality concept. Any chef eagerly awaits the moment of developing restaurant recipes, as it is a very interesting process in which creativity plays a very important role, adding value to the technique, since without technique there is no execution, but without creativity, there is no originality.
The right moment to create the menu of a new hospitality concept is always one of the most important details. This process must be carried out carefully since it is undoubtedly what will mark the future customer experience. We have to make sure that there is enough time to carry out all the necessary tests and mark a calendar with the seasonality of the ingredients. To open a successful restaurant, you have to know how to identify the tastes of future guests and surprise the palate with those textures and flavors that show the Chef’s personality. The guest experience is one of the most important things in your hospitality business, you need to focus on that.
Once we have set the guidelines to develop a restaurant menu, we are going to start making magic, combining the ingredients, the cooking, attracting the senses with those impressive textures and of course, taking into account the colors and flavors of each product. The flavor and quality of the ingredients is essential for a great dish. You have to know how to choose suppliers well, using those which we have confidence in and who treat the product as it deserves.
In this sense, we want to highlight a product such as saffron that has a very high gastronomic value and that brings a very distinctive personality to the dishes in which it participates. We have seen before that saffron is a historical ingredient with deep cultural roots in certain locations. For this reason, it is one of those food products that surprises the most and that chefs have as a top ingredient.
Regarding its organoleptic qualities, what do we know? Do we take into account all its qualities when creating the restaurant menu?
At Cooking Europe we use saffron in many recipes, especially in Mediterranean F&B concepts providing that cultural root that we mentioned before. Saffron has a very identifying bitter taste and a very intense and penetrating smell that will not go unnoticed. Its use gives rise to original recipes as it combines very well with ingredients such as ginger, garlic and tomato. The rice dishes that are cooked with saffron are interesting for giving aroma and color to the recipe. You can also develop recipes with meat and fish that have a good balance of fat and sourness.
Saffron is grown mainly in Iran and Spain, with the Spanish being the most valued since it is larger in size and for its more floral aroma when roasted. In these countries it is still a highly valued ingredient. More and more chefs use it all over the world and take it into account when creating menus for restaurants.
One of the dishes with designation of origin that must include saffron among its ingredients is Paella. Paella is perhaps one of the most difficult dishes to execute since the technique, cooking, flame, balance of ingredients and time, play a key role in its preparation.
In short, creating an original and profitable hospitality concept is mandatory for any entrepreneur in these times when competition is fierce. Now, if you take saffron into account among your recipes and dishes to develop, you will be giving your guests a lot of flavor, aroma and history.