Saffron Raspberry “Compote”

photo 1Danielle spent Saturday at the US Botanic Gardens, participating in the Junior Botanist Festival and whipping up this quick dish to showcase saffron. Saffron is extracted from the crocus flower, a very labor-intensive process, making it the most expensive spice in the world. However, its wonderful aromatic flavor and intense color translate into a little goes a long way.

Great as a dessert with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, great for breakfast with Greek yogurt or equally great as an accompaniment to a varied cheese platter. Serve this instead of grapes and apple slices.

2 baskets/containers raspberries  (½ lb.)

½ t natural cane sugar

1/16 t saffron threads (about 20 threads)

¼ t vanilla extract

3 T olive oil

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

½ C golden raisins or chopped dates

½ C sliced almonds, toasted

Additional cane sugar—to taste (optional)

Pick over the berries, discarding any that are damaged or moldy. Place in a serving bowl.

Use a mortar and pestle to grind the sugar and saffron threads into a powder. Transfer to a small mixing bowl and add the vanilla extract, olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest. Stir well and add to the berries, tossing gently but coating well. Add the raisins and almonds, stirring gently again. You want a few berries to break up, but not much more than that. Add more sugar if desired. Let sit 30 minutes before serving. Serves 4.

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