Ingredient Spotlight: Fennel Pollen

Green olive tapenade with fennel pollen is a crowd-pleasing appetizer. Photo by Richard Swearinger.
Green olive tapenade with fennel pollen is a crowd-pleasing appetizer.
Photo by Richard Swearinger.

By Wini Moranville

I always appreciate a great “Wow! What is it?” ingredient–something that treats everyone at your table to a new taste sensation.

Fennel pollen does just that. Collected from the blooms of wild fennel, the delicate spice recalls the subtle licorice tones of fennel, but in a sweeter, more ethereal way. I use it often as part of a dry rub in meats; I especially love it on pork tenderloin.

My No. 1 use for it, however, is in my green olive tapenade. You simply slather some purchased hummus atop a cracker (Trader Joe’s Original Savory Thins are great for this), and top with a wee bit of the tapenade and a little snipped fresh parsley.

Here’s the recipe for the tapenade:

Green Olive Tapenade with Fennel Pollen

1 1/2 cups pitted large green olives, drained

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon fennel pollen

1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon

1/4 teaspoon curry powder

Place the olives, oil, garlic, fennel pollen, red pepper flakes, tarragon and curry powder in a food processor. Process until the mixture becomes a coarse paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Transfer the tapenade to a bowl and serve at room temperature. Store leftovers in the refrigerator in a tightly covered, nonmetal container for up to two weeks. Makes about 1 cup.

Find the fennel pollen ($9.95 for a 4-ounce jar) at Allspice Culinarium (400 E. Locust St. in the East Village, 868-0808).

You May Also Like

Latin Jams

By Kellye Crocker Get ready for una fiesta grande when Des Moines-based Parranderos Latin ...

Battle of the Chefs

By Wini Moranville In its first three years, Iowa Public Radio’s (IPR) “Insight Series” has ...

New Gallery Exhibits

Summer is bursting with new exhibits at local art galleries: A new group show at ...

Let dsmWeekly deliver news directly to your inbox.