The flavors in this pilaf remind me a little of paella. It’s a great partner for salmon, shrimp, or mussels.
On the stovetop or in the microwave, heat the broth until hot. Add the saffron, cover, and let sit for 15 to 20 min.
In a heavy-based 3-qt. saucepan with a tight lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the diced onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned, about 5 min. Add the rice, salt, and cayenne, and stir well to coat each grain with oil. Toast for a full 5 min., stirring regularly to keep the grains separated and to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan (the rice may turn opaque before 5 min. is up, but keep going). Reduce the heat to low if there are any signs of scorching. Stir in 2 Tbs. of the parsley and the garlic.
Fluff the pilaf by slipping the tines of a fork down into the rice alongside the edge of the pan. Gently lift and toss the rice toward the center of the pan. Continue this process as you work your way around the perimeter. Then add your finishing-touch ingredients and gently fold them in with the fork, using a similar gentle fluffing motion.
Add the saffron broth, stir once, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 18 min. Remove from the heat, and let the pilaf sit, still covered, for 5 min.
Once the pilaf has rested, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Using the fork, gently fold in the almonds, the remaining 2 Tbs. parsley, and the oregano. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
nutrition information (per serving):
based on eight servings;
Photo: Scott Phillips