Lemon-Saffron Millet Pilaf

Photo: Richard Gerhard Jung

In this recipe, the gentle taste of millet acquires the bolder flavors of lemon and saffron. We served this pilaf with grilled shrimp, but it would be just as good with any roasted or grilled fish.


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

  • 2 shallots, peeled and finely diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

  • 3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

  • 2 stalks celery, washed and finely chopped

  • ¾ teaspoon coarse salt

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled

  • 1 ½ cups millet

  • 3 cups water

  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped lemon zest, plus more zest for garnish

  • ¾ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, carrots, celery, salt, and pepper, and cook until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the saffron and millet, and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Add the water, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Bring to a simmer; cover, reduce heat to low, and let cook until all water has been absorbed, about 25 minutes. Turn off heat, and let sit, covered, until tender, 10 minutes more.

  2. Add the parsley, and stir with a fork to combine parsley and fluff pilaf. Serve garnished with lemon zest.

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