Fennel Pollen, Calabria
This rare and luxurious spice is sourced from Calabria, in the sunny south of Italy, and really does carry in it the taste of pure summer. Like saffron it can only be harvested by hand, which gives fennel pollen its rarity. It is a very powerful spice, with notes of liqorice and citrus, similar of course to regular fennel but more pronounced. Combine the pollen with top quality salt to create a luxurious dry rub for meat, especially pork, and also as a seasoning for roasted vegetables. Fennel pollen also goes very well with grains – for a real treat, try a little sprinkle on buttered crusty bread, or combine with orange zest, olive oil and mint to make a simple dressing for spaghetti. It can be used in sweet baking too, a little added to an orange cake will transform it. It is important to remember that a little goes a long way with fennel pollen, and it is easy to use too much. A pinch will normally do, added towards the end of the cooking time to preserve the gorgeous flavour and aroma. A food writer once said that ‘If angels sprinkled a spice from their wings, this would be it.’ We agree, and this beautifully floral, natural spice is highly recommended.