What is fennel pollen? How do I use it?

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 Most grade school children can tell you that pollen is a powdery substance that plants use to exchange genetic information.  Pollen can be exchanged in a variety of ways: bees, bats, and the wind are some of the most common pollinators.

However, most people do not realize that some pollens can be potent cooking ingredients.   Fennel pollen, for example, is fantastically delicious.  It is pollen from the fennel plant, where we get fennel seeds and fennel bulbs.  It can be used as a spice (like fennel seed) but has a much stronger fennel flavor, so a little goes a long way.  It is commonly used in Italian dishes as a seasoning to finish dishes with.  Simply sprinkle atop pasta or fish as you would use a finishing salt.  Dill pollen is also available, and it tastes of very strong, and very clear dill.

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