Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
jaybee

Wild Italian Fennel Pollen

Recommended Posts

Zingerman's describes Wild Italian fennel pollen. Our find of the year: fairy dust for food lovers.  This stuff sound interesting.  But I still have six small bottles of fish sauce brought home from Bangok eight years ago that I don't know what to do with.  Has anyone actually used fennel pollen?  I'd love to be able to serve something and casually toss off that ingredient.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i actually finished my third tin of the fennel pollen. I always fall under the charm of the poetic description of zingerman's catalog. I used most of the pollen as a rub or marinade for the roasted chicken. And if you search the Food&Wine site for pollen, you'll find 4 recipes, each of them i tried with success.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I first tasted this at Alle Testiere in Venice in swordfish cooked with olives and capers and flavored with pollinea di finnochio. With my halting Italian, I wasn't really sure what pollinea meant, and eventually the owner puled out a little jar and opened it so I could see and smell it.

A couple of years later we were in Sicily in a little beach town called Cefalu. We had hiked to the top of the rocca, a big rock used for many cnturies as a refuge from the various invaders (there are remains of a Greek temple to Diana that are about 2500 years old, and lots of more recent fortifications). It was mid-October, and at the top, amongst the crumbling rock walls, I found blooming fennel. I spent an hour shaking the pollen into a plastic bag to bring home.

Wild fennel also grows out here, and I spotted some last year along the Willamette River just across from downtown Portland. It had already bloomed, so I couldn't get any pollen, but earlier this year I dug a couple of plants out of the gravel (they seem to like disturbed areas, and this was an old parking lot underneath the freeway). I transplanted them into my yard, and they seem to be doing fine, so I'm looking forard to my own pollen harvest later. The geeen fronds are also used in a lot of Sicilian recipes.

There's an ornamental variety called bronze fennel, and I got some pollen from one in a neighbor's yard. It had the same delicate, ephemeral fennel flavor.

Jim


olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about bee pollen? It's sold at the farmer's market and D. loves it. Any thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fennel is truly the most amazing plant. The seeds are gorgeous. The bulb is succulent. The fronds are herbaceous and lively. The pollen is intense.

Lovely.

By the way, has anyone done a fennel frond pesto? You just take the stalks and fronds you won't use, buzz them in a processor with EVOO, pine nuts or pumpkin seeds, a bit of citron, salt and pepper, grated parmesan or romano. A luscious sauce for pork. Nice for pasta also.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds as if wild fennel pollen is nothing to sneeze at.

Ramps also make a fine pesto like sauce.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bux, ramps are great. Just lightly sauteed with butter, buzzed into a sauce, garnishing potatoes, folded into potatoes.

Hm. Haven't tried them as a pasta sauce...


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did I mention blanched, pureed ramps stirred into mashed potatoes, or maybe even mashed potatoes stirred into a puree of blanched ramps. It was pretty green. And yes we've tried and enjoyed the same over boiled potaotes. A little olive oil to help liquify the ramps, by the way.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a piece about fennel pollen in the latest issue of John Thorne's Simple Cooking.  He describes it as "freaking awesome" and offers a recipe for shrimp with fennel pollen.  I haven't ordered any, though--I'm waiting for my foodie friends to offer me a pinch of theirs.

jaybee, start using that fish sauce in place of soy sauce or salt in a variety of things and see what works.


Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Mamster. Fish sauce is one of the world's best condiments. The fermentation process ensures that the liquid has a deeply developed flavour with salty overtones.

Use it in salads, stews, soups....just about anything that needs a flavour boost.

I would just like to add that I realise that my response has nothing to do do with fennel pollen - I apologise!

Where I live, wild fennel abounds. Foodies (the very few) use all parts of it in their cooking. I haven't, however, used the pollen. I will look in to it.


Roger McShane

Foodtourist.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, Sandra, I wouldn't try it. :wow:

Check with an allergist as soon as you can about it though.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What is the risk of an allergic reaction for those who have pollen allergies?

Interestingly, I've developed hayfever these past few years because the atmospheric pollen in New York has been unusually bad in the spring. In response, rather than running to my doctor for a prescription - or even trying something over-the-counter like Allerest - I've chosen to take bee pollen from an upstate farm. (I'm aware that more local pollen would probably be more effective, however.) It seems to have worked reasonably well - probably as well as anything over-the-counter I could have gotten. Notably, my symptoms were less anyway this year, and I attribute that to my cutting out dairy from my diet - although, of course, it could have something to do with variations in the pollen count from day-to-day and year-to-year.

I would guess that to start with a small amount to see if you're able to tolerate it before graduating to a larger amount would be a good way to "ease in" to this. However, if you have a long-standing history of allergy, it's probably best to avoid the allergenic substance altogether; I just tried to imagine myself suggesting to someone who was allergic to nuts, "Why don't you just start with little dabs of peanut butter...?" Nah. Don't jeopardize your health in the pursuit of flavor!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Matthew,

I haven't seen it for a couple of years, but there was a vacant lot near our friends' house on Queen Ann that was covered with wild fennel. I don't know the name of the street, but it's the route on the east side of the hill (a bus goes up it) that you get to by turning right after going under 99 and before you hit Seattle Center (this is on the south side...we take the I-5 exit that goes past the pink tow truck).

About three blocks up the hill a street veers off to the left, then turns hard left and goes straight up. The lot is on the veering left street (it's only a block or so long), on the left side, steep and rocky-looking.

Harvest the pollen when the flowers are in full bloom by putting a plastic bag over them and shaking.

Jim


olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm.   I've already spent the $15.99 for the 1/2 oz. tin of the stuff.  I think I'll have Alan (the allergic one) smell it first, and wait for half and hour or so to see if there is a reaction.  Usually, the response is instantaneous.  I can't have lilacs in the apartment, at all, for example.  Then, just to be sure, maybe he can take a prophylactic antihistamine.  His allergist never mentioned fennel pollen specficially, but I know they can't test for absolutely everything.  Thanks, all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow!  One question about fennel pollen and fourteen replies.  Where else in the world would that happen?  I'm ordering some from Zingerman's tonight!  Thanks folks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jim, I'm so glad you mentioned the wild fennel growing in the NW, as I didn't think fennel pollen would be anything that would relate to me, so I was basically skimming through this thread.  Now the lightbulb just went on, so to speak.  I have seen wild fennel growing around our neighborhoods, and was always a bit curious about it.  Some neighbors also have it growing in their yards, kind of like a wild ornamental...probably not Italian, but regular ornamental fennel.  I've never noticed the pollen, or thought of harvesting the fronds, but since it grows so readily, it's something I will consider.

Sandra, I was sorry to read that you aren't able to have lilacs in your home   :sad:  They are one of my favorite flowers, but the scent is rather strong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The wild fennel is bright green, while most of the ornamental is the bronze variety, and the just now emerging new growth is darker colored. Look for last years dried and collapsing stalks over a little mass of fethery fronds and you'll find the wild stuff.

As for allergic reactions...'hay fever' symptoms come from inhaling air borne pollen (and other stuff). I get hammered early by the first tree pollen (last month here) and later by grass pollen (grass seed is one of Oregon's biggest crops), but have never had any reaction to eating pollen.

Jim


olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By haresfur
      I found this article about arancino/arancina really interesting
       

    • By jennyandthejets
      I'll be in Naples for a few days next month and I wanted to try something traditional, and my friend recommended trying parmigiana. She said she loved it, but the problem is that she ate it at her Italian friend's house, and I won't be able to have that exact parmigiana. So, I did some research online and found a few restaurants that have good ratings and are serving allegedly great eggplant casserole. This place is 4 stars rated, but people seem not to agree whether the parmigiana is good or not.... On the other hand, this place has a great rating, appears when searching for the parmigiana, but nobody seems to write about it in their reviews. Finally, this one is said to have the best parmigiana in Naples (or in the world, for that matter), and I wanted to know if anyone had the so-called world's best?
      I would really appreciate if you could help me make the decision. Looking forward to your advice!

    • By alacarte
      I recently took a trip to Northern Italy, and was delighted to find that the cappuccino everywhere was just wonderful, without exception. Smooth, flavorful, aromatic perfect crema, strong but not too strong.
      Aside from the obvious answer (duh, Italians created cappuccino ), what makes Italian capp so fantastic, and how do I duplicate the effect here?
      I'm wondering if it's the water, the way the coffee is ground or stored, the machines used....I'm baffled.
      Also noticed that the serving size tended to be smaller than what I'm used to -- i.e. a small teacupful vs. a brimming mug or Starbucks supersize. Not sure why that is either.
      Grazie mille for any insight on this!
    • By Modernist Cuisine Team
      The Modernist Cuisine team is currently traveling the globe to research pizza and different pizza styles for our next book Modernist Pizza.  Nathan and the team will be in São Paulo and Buenos Aires soon. We'd love hear from the eGullet community—what pizzerias should they visit while they're there? You can read more about our next book Modernist Pizza here. Thanks in advance, everyone! 
    • By scordelia
      My article was published (my first one!)! Hooray! And I do have some Florentine restaurant recommendations including the new Osteria del Pavone which is amazing--lampredotto ravioli is now a thing and it must be tried.
       
      http://www.classicchicagomagazine.com/florence-in-winter/
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...