Cooking with new ingredients – Wild pollens
Some ingredients sound a little odd, some sound very gimmicky. Some just make you think ‘mmmmm, sounds different, what on earth is it?’. The first time I heard of someone using pollen I believe it was Dhruv Baker on MasterChef and I was intrigued. On entering the wonderful world of Twitter I suddenly heard people talking about it, tweets flying around between chefs and foodies and suppliers. I felt a bit left out, what did this strange sounding ingredient taste like, what do you do with it, is it a gimmick? Like a hayfever sufferer I put my head down and averted my attention. My kitchen would remain a pollen free zone. Only to be drawn back like a bee to a field of rapeseed, I HAD to have some. Anyway to cut a long story slightly shorter I bumped into David Mason of Global Harvest in a tweet and he offered to send me a sample. I would finally come face to face with my pollen. Whatever it looked like. I have to say I haven’t looked back, I’ve become a little obsessed with these little heavenly particles of flavour intensity.
|Smoked haddock poached with wild fennel pollen|
I’ve paired dill pollen with salmon to cure, with trout to pan fry and with eggs which were poached. I’ve dusted fennel pollen on lamb, mixed it with crab, poached it in smoked haddock with milk, made it into omelette, tried it in bread. Next stop is fennel pollen risotto with barbecued new season asparagus followed by a chocolate and fennel pollen sorbet. The mind boggles at the number of possibilities. Actually it’s now up there with cumin in my favoured ‘spices’.
|Poached egg with dill pollen|
Now I’ve put a few fish ‘pates’ on this blog. So one more won’t hurt.
Crab pate with wild fennel pollen
1 dressed crab
1/2 tsp fennel pollen
2tbsp creme fraiche
Squeeze lemon juice
1/4 tsp paprika
Mix the brown crab meat with all the ingredients until it forms a homogenised mix, correct for seasoning and then add the white crab meat and mix through leaving it quite chunky. Serve on sourdough bread as a starter or with a rocket salad for a light meal.
|Fennel pollen omelette with creme fraiche|
Wild fennel pollen omelette with creme fraiche
1/2 tsp fennel pollen
1 dsp creme fraiche
Whisk the eggs and fennel pollen together. Over a medium high heat melt the butter and when hot enough add the eggs (this is cooking an omelette, do it the way you do!). However when you are about to fold it over put the creme fraiche in the middle. Cook, turn then serve with a salad and chips or whatever you fancy. You get a wonderful gooey centre and bags of flavour.
The omelette pictured was served with a salad of piccolo tomatoes, cucumber, picos blue cheese and sherry vinegar. Yum.
Pollen. It’s not just for bees and butterflies.