How do you convert a basic comfort food into something rather more exotic? Simply soak your threads in a little warm milk, make your mashed potatoes the way you normally do, and blend in the saffron-milk at the end. Too simple? Try this variation to impress the dinner guests.
• 2 pounds floury potatoes cut into chunks
• 2 tablespoons butter or 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2/3 cup warmed milk
• 10 to 12 saffron threads
• 2 cloves crushed garlic
• 4 cloves garlic, parsley sprig and 1 tablespoon olive oil, for garnish
1. Put the milk or cream, saffron and crushed garlic into a small saucepan and bring almost to the boil. Remove from heat and let infuse for at least 20 minutes.
2. To prepare the garnish, slice the garlic into slivers and sauté in the olive oil until golden. Remove from heat and put to one side.
3. Boil the potatoes; drain well, then pop back into the pan for a minute to remove any excess water.
4. Mash the potatoes with the butter or oil and warmed saffron milk. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Spoon into a serving dish, drizzle on the garlic and oil and add a little chopped parsley.
6. Let everyone admire your handiwork—then wait for the compliments to start flowing.
Theresa O'Shea is a British freelance journalist who lives in the south of Spain and adores Spanish cooking.
Click here for the main article, Grow, Cook and Heal with Saffron.