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In his youth, Steve Luczo’s grandmother used to regale him with stories of the old country. He heard tales of the beauty of Corleone, Sicily, where the family plot of land had been. As an adult, he searched for the place his grandma Rose had described, and when he found it, he started restoring the area to grow olives that would eventually become the backbone of his company, Bona Furtuna. But not long after beginning to press his exceptional olive oil, Luczo started finding more Sicilian ingredients to bring back to the states. Now the company offers a tomato sauce, pasta made from Sicilian heirloom grains and antipasti-like stuffed chili peppers. But what I keep reaching for when I’m cooking at home is its line of herbs and sea salt blends.
I’ve been using a selection of Bona Furtuna’s blends in the last few months and have found great results. The sea salt with truffle can elevate an ordinary plate of scrambled eggs with just a sprinkle at the end; when serving fresh mozzarella, the basil salt adds a concentrated hit of herb; and the aglio e oglio blend has been a go-to when cooking a simple pasta dish. But one product has especially stood out: the fennel pollen.
A few years ago, I was dining at Danny Meyer’s North End Grill in New York before it closed, and the restaurant served an amazing wood-fired tomahawk pork chop. What made it especially delicious was the sprinkling of fennel pollen they finished the sliced meat with. It added a deep floral note to the fatty pork, as well as a hint of anise flavor. Since getting Bona Furtuna’s fennel pollen, I’ve been doing the same thing, taking my chops to a whole new level with a generous dusting right after I pull them off the pan. It can also be used on chicken, pasta or even salmon. It’s definitely worth adding to your pantry.