Saffron Rice...Don't Forget to Remove the Bay Leaf!

Hello Friends. Have I told you about Gran Fran's Saffron Rice with Shrimp? It is truly extraordinary. I cannot recall a time without it showing up on a large buffet set out for friends and family. There is some idea in my brain that it was always included in group parties, but I don't recall it being made as a main course until we were grown.But, beyond the loveliness of the dish, I do know that I will always hear Gran Fran's voice in my head, loud and clear "You can make a nice dish of Saffron Rice with Shrimp, but don't forget to remove the bay leaf." She said this with a warning in her voice that matched only her request for us kids to cross the street when a dog we didn't know approached us.

I suppose she is right. The bay leaf can be sharp and doesn't really taste all that good. But, the flavor it lends to a recipe is immeasurable.

So, in closing on this little post, enjoy the following dish. Simple to make, serves many and is generally enjoyed by a host of different palettes.

But "Don't forget to remove the bay leaf."

Saffron Rice with Shrimp

serves 6 as a main course


  • 2 cups Rice
  • 5 cups Water
  • 6 Boullion cubes
  • 1/2 cup White wine, Vermouth or Pernod
  • 2 cloves Garlic, quartered
  • 4 Tbsps Butter
  • 1 tube Saffron
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1/4 Tsp Fennel Seeds (if you have them on hand)
  • Salt, Pepper and Red Pepper Flakes to taste


  • Bring water, boullion, garilc, butter, saffron and bay leaf, fennel, pepper and red pepper flakes to a boil in a large nonreative pan.
  • Once it has reached the boil, reduce the heat to medium and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or so.
  • Add the rice to the liquid. Bring to a boil again. Stir rice and reduce heat to medium/low to achieve a simmer.
  • Cover closely with a fitted lid, and simmer for 21 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Sauteed Shrimp for Saffron Rice


  • 1 Lb. Shrimp, cleaned and deveined, tails off
  • 2 Tbsps Butter
  • 1/4 Tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1 Lemon, zest and juice
  • 1/4 cup White Wine, Vermouth or Pernod
  • Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes to Taste


  • Heat nonreactive skillet over high heat.
  • Add butter herbs and spices and lower heat a little somewhere between medium and high. Sautee for 1 minute.
  • Once butter has melted, add shrimps. Sautee until opaque, about 4 minutes.
  • Remove shrimps from pan.
  • Turn off the flame. Add wine, lemon juice and zest to pan and turn the flame back on the medium. Reduce the liquid by about half, scraping up the brown bits in the pan at the same time.
  • Pour the liquid over the shrimp.
  • Stir it all together with the rice and ENJOY!