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Fennel pollen: A heavenly spice

by Dabney Gough

fromFine Cooking
Issue 92

If you’ve never heard of fennel pollen, you’re probably not alone, unless you live in Tuscany. It’s used frequently there but is fairly obscure everywhere else. Those who do know about it are fanatics, and one whiff will tell you why. It smells like fennel, yes, but it’s also flowery and spicy. It’s so intoxicating that fennel pollen is said to be the “spice of the angels.”

In Tuscany, fennel pollen is often paired with pork, either before or after cooking. Its anise flavor also goes wonderfully with poultry and fish (you’ll find it paired with salmon in our Spice-Rubbed & Sear-Roasted Salmon with Honey-Glazed Fennel). Try adding fennel pollen to your favorite spice mix or sprinkle a bit onto a finished dish—just a pinch gives a big boost of flavor.

Unless you live near a spice merchant or high-end specialty grocery store, you’ll probably need to order fennel pollen online at

Photo: Scott Phillips

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