This week we’re shining the spotlight on Fennel Pollen. This delicate and flavorful spice is the most potent form of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) – a plant whose seeds, fronds, and bulb are used to impart a licorice-like flavor in dishes all over the world. Fennel pollen is often referred to as the “spice of angels,” and it’s no wonder – it has an incredible flavor with notes of anise, citrus, and curry and a hint of sweet honey.
Fennel pollen is harvested by hand from wild fennel flowers – frequently in Italy and California where it grows wild. Fancy, right? It takes many fennel flowers to produce even a small amount of pollen, which makes this spice nearly as costly as Saffron. Luckily – just like Saffron – a little goes a long way. A small jar of Fennel Pollen will last you awhile.
We love using Fennel Pollen to season meat (pork, chicken, fish, and sausage are good choices), soups, and roasted veggies. It’s also good on grain-based dishes (think quinoa and rice), and on pastas. We typically add it toward the end of cooking or use it as a finishing spice as we plate our meals to allow it to retain most of its flavor. Try using a bit in your next savory vinaigrette. Combined with salt it makes a nice rub.