What is it?
With hints of licorice, honey, and citrus, fennel pollen offers a more interesting flavor than fennel seed, which is why we recommend using it in the Herb-Roasted Rack of Pork. A classic flavoring for porchetta, it’s also lovely on fish or whisked into vinaigrettes.
In Tuscany (where it’s called the “spice of the angels”), fennel pollen is often paired with pork, either before or after cooking. Tiny and golden, it’s wonderful mixed with salt and pepper and used as a seasoning before cooking. Its anise flavor also goes wonderfully with poultry and fish. 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.
Introduced to American cooks in the 1990s by Italian immigrants, fennel pollen, as the name suggests, is harvested from the flowering fennel plant. Delicious with pork and Though not cheap—1 oz. will set you back at least $15—a little goes a long way.
Don’t have it?
Crushed fennel seeds can stand in in a pinch, but it doesn’t exactly mimic the fragrance of fennel pollen.
How to choose:
Look for fennel pollen in specialty spice shops or gourmet stores.
How to store:
Stored in a cool, dry place, it should last for up to two years.
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