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SUN DRIED TOMATO AND SAFFRON PILAF

 

Tomato
by Lawrence Davis-Hollander
Good at any time, this is especially nice in winter when the intense flavor of sun-dried tomatoes and the sunny colors of the dish recall summer.
Serves 4


Ingredients
• 1 cup basmati or other long-grain rice
• large pinch saffron (enough to cover a dime)
• 1 2/3 cups warm water
• 1/3 cup golden raisins
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 2 tablespoons chopped shallot
• 1 small garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
• 12 sun-dried tomatoes, snipped into small pieces
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 small bay leaf


Directions
1. Place the rice in a sieve and run cold water over it for a minute. Transfer to a medium bowl and cover with plenty of cold water. Let stand for at least 30 minutes, or up to 60 minutes, changing the water once or twice. When the water looks clear, strain the rice through a sieve.

2. While the rice is soaking, combine the saffron with 1/3 cup of the warm water. In a separate small bowl, soak the raisins in warm water to cover.

3. For the pilaf, melt the butter in a medium pan over low heat. Stir in the shallot and garlic and cook to soften for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the drained rice. When the rice is glistening with the butter, add the saffron and its water, plus 1^3 cups additional water. Stir in the tomatoes and salt and add the bay leaf. Simmer for 10 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed and craters appear on the surface of the rice.

4. Drain the raisins. Using a fork, gently stir them into the rice. Remove the bay leaf. Take a clean cloth towel and place it over the pan. Hold it in place with the lid. Remove from the heat but keep in a warm spot for 15 to 20 minutes, until the rice is fluffy.
 

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