Ingredients: Extra virgin olive oil, paccasassi* 38%, wine vinegar, salt. *Sea Fennel (Crithmum maritimum). May contain traces of fish, soy and nuts.
Sea fennel, known as “paccasassi” in the local dialect, is an aromatic succulent plant that grows spontaneously in the crevices among sea cliffs in the Mediterranean. It was once an essential food for seafarers to combat vitamin deficiencies on long voyages (read more about its amazing nutritional properties!) and was even mentioned by Shakespeare in King Lear.
For centuries locals in the Conero area harvested and preserved the plant's tender shoots for use in their home kitchens, but the delicacy remained relatively unknown outside of the region. In 2011, after the plant was declared endangered, the founders of Rinci were inspired to reinvigorate this regional delicacy and share its unique flavor with the world.
Rinci partners Luca, Francesco, and Alessandro organically cultivate fields of sea fennel in the Parco Naturale del Conero. During the months of May and June, the tender shoots of the plant are hand-plucked and taken to their state-of-the-art kitchen and laboratory to be blanched and pickled in a brine of water, wine vinegar, and salt. Only the most perfect pickled shoots are selected and placed in jars, one by one, before being left to marinate in mild Puglian extra virgin olive oil for a few months.
The finished product has a crisp, crunchy texture; a fascinating marine flavor, with hints of fennel, lemon, and carrot; and an intense minerality, reminiscent of aromatic wines such as Riesling or Gewürztraminer. Pickled Sea Fennel is easy to use and extremely versatile. Locals enjoy paccasassi in a flatbread panino with mortadella. Use as a garnish for pizza, pasta, seafood dishes, and salumi.