Thursday, August 30, 2012

Blackberry & Cucumber Salad with Fennel Pollen

On a recent New York trip, I picked up fennel pollen at Eataly, Mario Batali's Italian mega-market just off Madison Square Park. Awhile back, I'd been making a recipe (coincidentally, one of Batali's) that called for fennel pollen and I couldn't find it anywhere. So when I saw it at Eataly, I picked some up in case I ever needed it again.

Of course, I tried a little bit to see what it was like. Unsurprisingly, a lot like fennel, although more intense than you would expect and even a little sweet. A little goes a long way. For its inaugural use in my kitchen, I opted to sprinkle it over a salad with blackberries, cucumber and arugula. Not wanting to overpower it, I kept the dressing very basic.

This salad features another unique find: lemon cucumbers. My farmers market has them sometimes. They are thicker and shorter than your regular cucumbers (so basically more spherical) and have a yellow-white skin. They don't really taste different than other cucumbers and they certainly don't taste like lemons, just resemble them.

Blackberry & Cucumber Salad with Fennel Pollen

Serves 2

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Three cups of arugula
2/3 cup fresh blackberries
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 lemon cucumbers, peeled and chopped (can substitute one regular cucumber)
Pinch of fennel pollen (no more than 1/8 tsp.)

Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to make the vinaigrette. Combine the other ingredients in a large bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. After plating, sprinkle lightly with fennel pollen.

1 comment:

  1. When you purchased the fennel pollen, the cashier at Eataly told you he'd never seen anyone purchase it before. Too bad more people don't use it. It sounds like it's a nice ingridient to add to recipes like this.