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Thing of the Day — Fennel Pollen


This is what happened: I got Sara Jenkins’ cookbook, Olives and Oranges, which you can read all about by clicking the link at the end of this post. In it, I found a recipe for a loved one who has a childhood fondness for oyster stuffing. But what was this ingredient I spied in the recipe? Fennel pollen. At first I thought I had read it wrong, and that it must have read fennel powder. But no. It said pollen, and that I might find it at Il Buco in Manhattan. “Wild fennel pollen can turn a simple dish into something truly spectacular,” writes Jenkins. So I tracked it down like a sorceress in pursuit of a new potion and was delighted with the corked glass vial and its rustic paper tag tied on with coarse string and handwritten in Italian. The seedy, powdery stuff inside, gathered by hand from the flowers, is a delicate soft sage green color that speaks of leaf and blossom.The real delight, however, was revealed when I lifted the cork. A perfumed aroma wafted out with such strength I was taken off guard for a moment. The scent is kind of like holding a very pungent anise and fennel scented flower right under your nose. Imagine this, then imagine you are in the garden surrounded by hundreds of these flowers. This stuff is strong and beautiful, and when spread on vegetables or poultry and roasted, it intensifies and delivers an intoxicating flavor. Read more about it here. Try it. It’s a splurge but worth it. And if you can’t get to Manhattan, you can buy it online here.

see also: Why I Love Olives and Oranges

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