World’s First Fennel Pollen Bratwurst?

If you’ve been eating in fine dining restaurants the last few years, you’ve likely come across bee pollen, those little balls that bees have collect from flowers and stick together with little bits of nectar. I’ve seen Ames Farm bee pollen, for instance, on cheese trays, decorating seared scallops, and even clinging to the rim of a cocktail glass at Brenda Langton’s Spoonriver.

And if you’ve been eating in backyards these last few years, you’ve likely come across a bratwurst, those things my editor insists must be eaten unadorned and two to a hard roll [ed note: actually, brown mustard is okay; it’s just ketchup and yellow mustard that are truly abominable on a brat], in true Sheboygan style, even though most Minneapolis folks treat them more or less like big hot dogs [ed note: sad but true].

What you’ve never seen, or at least I’ve never seen, is a fennel pollen bratwurst.

But if you go to Clancey’s, the butcher shop in the Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis this Friday, you will see the world’s first fennel pollen bratwurst, which they are planning to sell for $8.90 a pound.

I consider it the 2008 food-thinkers version of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup smash-up: I picture someone running down one hall with a fine dining cheese plate, and someone running down another hall with a bratwurst. “You got bratwurst on my bee pollen! No, you got bee pollen on my bratwurst. Wait a minute, they’re two great tastes that taste great together….”

Or maybe not. I don’t know, I haven’t tried them. But I plan to. I also hope to try the coffee rubbed skirt steak, house-cured pancetta, and some of the burgers they’re making, like one made with blue cheese, Serrano pepper, and scallions. Sound awfully fancy for a butcher shop? It is. Turns out that two young chefs are currently working behind the counter of this all-local butcher shop: Andrew Pickar, a longtime cook at jP’s American Bistro, and Ross Sundberg, a Minnesota native who started his career in the D’Amico restaurants but who recently returned to Minnesota after several years cooking at Seattle’s legendary Campagne.

That’s a lot of firepower for a butcher shop, so I’m guessing fennel pollen bratwurst is just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s keep in mind that Clancey’s is the metro’s foremost source for some of the country’s best foie gras, from local Au Bon Canard. I’d guess a foie gras hot dog would be next, but that seems too pedestrian. This much is sure: If you happen to be hosting Jean Georges or Wolfgang for brats this weekend, I know where you should shop.

Clancey’s Meats & Fish
4307 Upton Ave S Minneapolis
(612) 926-0222