Kick-Your-Caboose Saffron Couscous

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Chefology: Both beautiful and extremely expensive, saffron is the red stamen—the tiny thread where the pollen catches—in the small purple crocus flower. It is the world’s most expensive spice, so we’re lucky that a little saffron goes an incredibly long way.

Excerpted from Gourmet Meals in Crappy Little Kitchens, by Jennifer Schaertl, with permissions from Health Communications, Inc. (c) 2010. The following excerpt can be found on Page 186.

Couscous can be made in a matter of minutes and only requires one pot, making it exceptionally CLK friendly. SERVES 4 TO 6

• 1 3/4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
• 1/2 orange, juiced
• 6 saffron threads
• 1 1/2 cups couscous
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
• 1/4 cup natural sliced almonds toasted

1. Put your 1-quart saucepot over medium heat and add the stock, sea salt, and freshly squeezed orange juice. When the liquid is hot and has begun to steam, add the saffron threads, allowing them to “bloom” or dissolve into the stock.

2. Once the water begins to simmer, add the couscous and the butter; cover, and remove from heat. Allow this to stand for 10 minutes, and then open the lid and fluff the couscous with a fork.

3. Taste the couscous at this point to see if it needs more salt, then stir in the parsley. For a restaurant style plating, take a small can (like a tuna can) and wash it thoroughly. Line it with plastic wrap (in case the couscous doesn’t want to release), and then pack the can very tightly with the couscous. Turn over and tap lightly in the center of the plate. A perfect cylinder of golden couscous should be left behind. Garnish with the toasted almonds.

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