Saffron Pistachios

Very subtle, almost delicate saffron flavor that improves as it sits, these nuts really need to cool completely.

If you haven’t had a good pistachio lately it’s probably because you’re eating those grown in California. While they’re easier to open and comparatively large, their flavor isn’t as good as the smaller, more flavorful Turkish pistachio.

Saffron, the world’s most expensive spice, is fortunately so flavorful that you need just a tiny bit to flavor foods. Used most famously in Risotto Milanese, Paella, Bouillabaisse and primarily in Spanish and French dishes, saffron adds a kind of aromatic pungency and a gorgeous yellow color.

Like nutmeg, pistachios are drupes. A drupe has a soft flesh and a hard seed or stone in the middle. To remove the outer covering they must be soaked first. Stone fruit, like peaches, plums and apricots are also drupes.

Saffron Pistachios
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Cook time: 
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Serves: 2 cups
  • 2 cups just toasted shelled pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons Spanish olive oil
  • 4 saffron threads, crushed (or 1 teaspoon curry powder)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Place the pistachio nuts and oil in a bowl and toss until the nuts are well coated.
  3. Add the saffron and salt and toss until combined.
  4. Transfer to a roasting pan and arrange in a single layer. Place in the oven and cook until the nuts just begin to color, about 20 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a paper towel to drain and set aside to cool.