I met a saffron producer online, who is also creating some facinating products from his farm in San Miniato.
Toni's site is Croco e Similace. Besides saffron, he grows rhubarb and thyme. He creates some very creative products which I can't wait to try. Strawberry and thyme jam, green apple, mint and cardomom jelly. Saffron butter, honey with truffles and saffron grappa, rhubarb and ginger jam; rhubarb, hazelnut and truffle pate. I am so curious to try them all!
But today Toni brought me a sample of his saffron. This year my plants didn't flower. He said it was due to the fact that it didn't become cold enough, so I have to wait for next year.
I was immediately inspired to make a favorite Sicilian dish, Pasta con le Sarde- pasta with sardines.
A simple look at how i made it:
Pasta con le Sarde
about the ingredients, usually white onions, saffron in threads, the pinenuts are traditionally sold with tiny black currants for cooking in Palermo, I used raisins. Wild fennel greens are hard to find in Tuscany so i used what i could get off my fennel plants from the store, but fennel fronds are sold separately in Sicily.
The saffron is first placed to soak in hot water.
Saute onions in olive oil and boil wild fennel greens in a separate pot.
Add the drained greens ( saving the water you cooked them in) to the onions.
Add raisins and pinenuts and the fresh boned sardines.
Let cook until the sardines start to break down.
( some people add anchovies)
Boil spaghetti, or bucatini in salted water ( add the left over water from cooking the fennel greens into the boiling water).
Drain the pasta a litte al dente into the pan and add the saffron and the water it soaked in.
Finish cooking the pasta by stirring. The pasta will absorb the saffron water and become a light yellow.
Serve with breadcrumbs instead of parmesan cheese.
Thanks to Toni from
Azienda Agricola Croco e Smilace
A list of where you can find his products in Tuscany: CLICK HERE FOR THE LIST.
Via Elsa, 1
56028 San Miniato (PI)