How to make the most of saffron when cooking? | BTC - Belgian Development Agency


Tips and recipes


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Perfect for fish dishes
Ingredients (serving 4)
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 dab of butter
  • Saffron (infused in milk as described below) 
  • 1 pinch of thyme
  • 20 cl of liquid cream
  • 10 cl of fish fumet
  • Salt, pepper 
  • A few drops of lemon  

Finely chop the shallots and sauté them in the butter in a saucepan over medium heat until they turn translucent.

Add the saffron, a pinch of thyme, the fish fumet, cream, salt and pepper, and lemon, and cook until reduced to the consistency of custard.

This sauce is perfect to go with your fish dishes (monkfish, sea bass, etc.) and also suits fresh pasta or boiled potatoes very well.   


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Ingredients (serving 4)
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 70 gr of brown sugar
  • 20 cl of milk
  • 30 cl of liquid cream
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • Saffron (infused in milk as described below) 

Bring to boil the milk with half a vanilla pod split in two. Then, with a knife, undo the black seeds from the vanilla pod and mix them in the milk. Once the milk is cooking, let infuse for approximately 10 minutes with a lid on the pan.

Add the cream and continue to heat until the first bubbles appear, remove the vanilla pod and add the saffron. Stop the heating and let stand.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and add little by little to the milk/cream/saffron mixture while whisking continuously.

Distribute this mixture in four ramekins. 

Bake for approximately 40 min at 100°C in a convection oven. The cream must set but still tremble in the centre.

Cool down immediately (at least one hour in the fridge).

Sprinkle with the brown sugar, broil in the oven or with a small kitchen blowtorch, and serve. 

To make the most from the flavour of saffron

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Dosing is key: A little is enough... The universal dose of reference: 0.1 gram of saffron for a dish serving 4.

By nature, saffron is not an instant spice. Saffron needs time to heighten and develop the subtlety of its taste. In addition, it does not stand boiling or frying. Intense heat destroys its aromatic molecules and only the pigments remain.

So, what is the best way to keep the spice intact? Infuse the saffron in advance! 

Moisten 0.1 gram of saffron (45 stigmas) with steam. Let it cool down. Put them on a sheet of paper. With the back of a spoon, crush the saffron stigmas. Add a table spoon of hot water or milk for every 0.1 gram of saffron that you use. Let infuse for 2 hours.  


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