Pickled Sea Fennel (Paccasassi)
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Pickled sea fennel is a natural mate for our smoked seafood. What is sea fennel? Glad you asked! Not only is it a curious flavor, like you'd expect from Wildfish Cannery, but it's also an underappreciated coastal plant that packs a whopping nutritional punch.
Nearly every coastal community has a local nutrient-rich wild beach green. Here on the island, throughout the spring and summer, we forage along our beaches and bays for the small, fleshy seacoast plants which we lovingly call beach asparagus.
But alas, our beloved sea asparagus isn't available commercially...yet. So naturally, we've turned to the craftsmen of Rinci who produce this delicious alternative along the Mediterranea sea. Like beach asparagus, sea fennel grows spontaneously along the coasts. Sea fennel trade flourished in Europe until the end of the nineteenth century and, thanks to its richness in vitamin C, the consumption of sea fennel was particularly widespread among seafarers who used it to prevent scurvy.
Tasting notes: These sea-loving plants have tender stalks and delicate elongated leaves which feature a unique, subtle marine flavor: savory and fresh, green and beachy. The salty ocean air of the Mediterranean characterizes the base flavor, and the pickling gives each piece its characteristic punch.
Serve it up: For an excellent aperitif or appetizer, start with crispy or toasted bread, a layer of Smoked Octopus or Smoked King, and garnish with this savory, tangy vegetable. Finely chop and add to our Smoked Salmon Spread in place of kelp pickles. Use as a garnish for crostini topped with unsalted butter and Jose Sardines or Smoked Herring. Substitute for capers in any seafood dish. The mild acidity of the sea fennel also makes it an ideal pickle for every charcuterie board.
Source: Luca, Francesco, and Alessandro, founders of Rinci, collaborate with local farmers to organically cultivate this regional favorite in the Marche region of Italy.
Harvested: Sea fennel shoots are hand-harvested in late spring and preserved sott-olio (meaning under oil in Italian). The most perfect shoots are picked, then blanched in water to soften before being jarred with extra virgin olive oil and vinegar.
Ingredients: Marin Fennel, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, White Vinegar, and Salt
Size: 7.1 oz