When using saffron, to get the full flavour out of it, you should always prepare it as an infusion in liquid. Here are our instructions on how to do just that.
20 Strands English Saffron
3 tsp almost boiling water
Lightly crush the saffron in a pestle and mortar. For best results, ensure the pestle and mortar are smooth, so none of the filament are wasted.
Place in a lightproof container and pour over the almost boiling water. Cover. Leave to infuse for several hours or in a fridge overnight.
Alternatively, instead of water, using warm milk, wine or any other liquid will have the same effect.
English Saffron mussels
1 quantity English Saffron Infusion (see above)
50g unsalted butter
40g shallots, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh tarragon
200ml white wine
100ml double cream
200ml fish stock
1.5kg mussels, washed and cleaned - discard any that don't close when tapped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Gently melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the shallots and cook until they are soft. Add the English Saffron infusion, bay leaf, thyme, tarragon and white wine. Bring to boil.
Reduce the liquid by half and then add the cream and fish stock. Bring back to the boil and add the mussels. Cover the pan and bring back to boil again. Once the mussels have opened, discard any that are still shut, strain the liquid into a small pan and reduce a little more. Season. Place the mussels in a bowl and serve with the sauce poured over and with some crusty bread or thin potato fries.