August 5, 2005
That time of year
Driving around the countryside now, a thin plant is high above the others with its tiny golden pollen calling me!
I discovered Fennel Pollen while working at the Antica Maccelleria with Dario Cecchini, one of my mentors here in Italy.
Dario's curiosity is contagious and when he discovers something, you also get addicted. I adore it with pork chops , which Dario sells, sauteed and then deglazed with Vin Santo and salted. Or using it in porchetta, with duck.. It is especially good with anything fatty. Fennel seeds have been used for years as a digestive.
The pollen adds a deep rich mysterious flavor, almost oriental.
Dario uses the fennel pollen with abandon... and you will too, if you can get your hands on some!
It is one of the more expensive ingredients.. selling for about $7 an ounce here in Florence and double that in the states.
BUT.. it grows wild! I know in California it is almost a weed!
If not , you can order it here from a place in California or get it from
Conti who have a shop at the Central Market, or at Dario's in Panzano!
Enjoy some of the food of the gods!