Saffron may be the world's most expensive spice, but few will argue that the expense isn’t worth it. Saffron recipes are notable for their sweet, hay-like aroma and distinct yellow golden colour. It is a classic ingredient in Arabic, Indian and Mediterranean cuisine, particularly Spanish paella, Moroccan tagines, and Indian rice pilau.
Saffron is made from the dried stigmas of the crocus flower, which must be hand harvested to extract its orangey red strands. This process is what makes saffron so expensive, but fortunately saffron recipes require only a small amount of the spice to impart its delicate, unique flavour. And when it comes to saffron, you can definitely have too much of a good thing: excessive amounts of saffron will overpower a recipe and make it bitter.
A simple way to enjoy saffron is in saffron mayonnaise, a splendid compliment to chicken, as in Vineet Bhatia's canapé recipe. Saffron can also add a delicate nuance to numerous desserts. A great example is Alfred Prasad's halwa recipe, where carrot and cardamom work with saffron's aroma to create an aromatic pudding, perfect with vanilla ice cream.