Wild Fennel Pollen from Antica Drogheria Francioni
A treasured ingredient in Tuscany for centuries, fennel pollen has an intriguing flavor with elements of bright anise, earthy sage and floral saffron. It is a traditional (and wonderful) partner for pork, as in the classic Tuscan pork sausage, finocchiona. We recommend thick-cut grilled pork chops showered with fennel pollen and sea salt. Fennel pollen has a delicacy that also makes it an excellent seasoning for fish. Try sushi grade tuna rolled in fennel pollen and seared over high heat. Dust some of the fragrant herb over fresh goat cheese for a special addition to a cheese plate, or add it to vinaigrettes, salt rubs and stuffings.
When the fennel flowers that blanket Tuscany are laden with pollen, Bruno Francioni and his foragers head out to carefully harvest the flowers by hand. Next, the fennel pollen is dried in a slow and painstaking process to ensure that none of the essential oils dissipate and lose their aroma. Signor Francioni knows it's ready when the pollen has a heady aroma of anise, golden-green color and crisp texture.
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