Friday, August 17, 2012

Wild Fennel

This time of year the entire Central Coast is covered with wild fennel.  While it is genetically similar to Sicilian Fennel, a highly regarded ingredient in Italy, the local fennel is largely overlooked.  Every part of the plant is edible; dried stalks for smoking, young fronds for salads and seeds for cures and sausages.  All of these are excellent, but the bright yellow flowers, filled with sweet licorice scented pollen is the real culinary treasure.  We recently included a dish using wild fennel pollen on the menu at Sierra Mar: 

Burrata with wild fennel Pollen
Sea Salt, Heirloom Tomato

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