The newest spice that chefs and foodies are raving over? Pollen! Fennel pollen, specifically. It has been hailed by food writers as “The spice that Angels sprinkle from their wings” (Peggy Knickerbocker). It is unique in that while this powerful spice is the most potent form of fennel, it tends to enhance the flavors of the dish it is added to, working with the other flavors in a way that amplifies them, never overpowering.
Fennel is an aromatic perennial herb from the Umbelliferae family, with varied uses in culinary and medicine. In the Tuscany region of Italy, cooking with pollen is commonplace. Fennel pollen is used as a flavoring in bread and pesto, as well as in salads and on roasted meats and fish.
Cooking with pollen is not difficult at all-
Here a few tasty fennel pollen recipes that you can try at home:
1. Spaghetti with Fennel Pollen, Orange, Garlic, and Mint
1 pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Zest of one large orange
20 to 30 mint leaves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fennel pollen
1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice
Boil 3 quarts of water with 1/4 cup salt. Cook spaghetti until firm but not done. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat, add garlic and cook for one minute
Strained cooked spaghetti from pot and add to skillet with olive oil, orange zest, mint, and fennel pollen. Mix until pasta is coated, add salt and lemon juice to taste. Serve.
2. Fennel Pollen Crusted Pork Tenderloin
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 teaspoon fennel pollen
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
In a small bowl, mix rosemary, fennel pollen, and garlic with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Rub over pork tenderloin and let marinate for one hour. Preheat oven to 350 and heat one tablespoon olive oil in an oven-safe skillet (medium-high heat). Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper and brown on all sides. Bake pork in the pan at 350 for 15 minutes, then let it rest for 10 before serving.
3. Fennel Pollen Chicken Breast
2 chicken breasts with skin and bones
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons wild fennel pollen
Preheat oven to 350. Wash Chicken and pat dry. For crispy skin, separate from meat of chicken with hand. Coat chicken breasts in olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper, then fennel pollen on skin side of chicken only. Bake until cooked all the way through- 30 to 40 minutes.
See? Cooking with pollen is a breeze. Try these recipes? Tell us how it went!