Traditional Preserved Sea Fennel from Marche, Italy
What is sea fennel?
Sea fennel—known as paccasassi in the local Ancona dialect—is an aromatic succulent plant traditionally eaten in the eastern Italian region of Marche. These sea-loving plants have tender stalks and delicate elongated leaves with a unique subtle marine flavor.
About Rinci Pickled Sea Fennel (Paccasassi Sott'olio)
Luca, Francesco, and Alessandro, founders of Rinci, collaborate with local farmers to organically cultivate this regional favorite. The 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 them and jarred with extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. The finished product has a succulent yet tender texture with a nuanced salinity and hints of fennel, lemon and carrot.
How to use
Pickled Sea Fennel from Rinci can be used straight out of the jar in a variety of ways. Do as they do in Marche, Italy and enjoy paccasassi in a flatbread sandwich with thinly sliced mortadella. The mild acidity of the sea fennel makes an ideal pickle for any antipasti spread. Use it as a garnish for crostini topped with unsalted butter and anchovies. Or, serve it as is alongside salumi.
Oil-preserved sea fennel is a natural mate for fish and seafood. Use as a topping for grilled fish or as a condiment for a whole-roasted fish. Or, toss the sea fennel with flash-cooked squid, pile on charred bread and top with a generous pour of extra virgin olive oil and a spritz of lemon.