Using pollen in the pantry- it’s not just another food trend.
For centuries humans have been using herbs and spices in the kitchen to flavor our food. One of the oldest herbs with the most varied uses is fennel. Fennel is very aromatic herb from the Umbelliferae family, with a wide array of uses from medicinal to culinary.
Medicinally, fennel can be made into a tea from the bruised seeds that is said to help with bloating and digestive disorders. The bulb of the fennel plant is full of Vitamin C, which is vital for a healthy immune system, as well as being rich in fiber which helps control cholesterol levels.
In the culinary world, all parts of the fennel plant are used for its savory flavor, the most potent being fennel pollen (don’t worry, it is not the kind of pollen that ignites allergies, and even then, cooking it would make it inert). Use of fennel pollen originated in the Tuscany region of Italy, most commonly on bread, pesto, salads, and on roasted meats and fish. Chefs praise this flavor booster, and foodies claim it brings out the best parts of the umami flavor in pork, fish, and just about any other dish it’s used on. Fennel pollen spice may smell strongly like anise and licorice, but when combined with other flavors takes a background, supporting role that lifts and completes the other flavors in the dish.
This powerful spice does come dear- behind saffron and cardamom, it is the third most expensive spice in the world. In fact, in chef circles it has become known as “gold dust” for its price and for its ability to turn a formerly boring dish into culinary gold.
Pollen Ranch, the pioneer behind using pollen in the pantry, developed and implemented a system for fennel and dill pollen and have been selling and promoting its use for over a decade. In addition to the pollens, Pollen Ranch offers several unique spice blends from the mind of Chef Bernard Guillas, who is one of three Americans to be named for the Master Chef of France award.
These spice blends are perfect for the Chef’s signature recipes, which can be found courtesy of the Pollen Ranch website. These recipes bring a little piece of an awarded chef’s mind to the home kitchen- turns out all you need to fulfill your culinary dreams are a little “gold dust” and an internet connection.