I've always wanted an excuse to try cooking with Hearts of Palm, I've read about them online and on cookbooks and I recently discovered that there is a store near (ish) me which stocks them in tins. I've often walked past them when buying other things and been sorely temped to just grab a tin. The main thing stopping me is the price - at over $5 per tin it's a little bit of a splurge, especially when I didn't have anything in particular in mind to make with them.
But.... this month I've been featuring lots of recipes inspired by Costa Rica and from my internet research it would seem that they use this ingredient quite a bit. I found Hearts of Palm Salads and Hearts of Palm Rice (Arroz Palmito) referred to on the internet. I really wanted to try both but I wasn't sure my food budget could really stretch to 2 tins so I decided on the salad, because I love salads. Want to know another exciting thing about this salad? These lovely cherry and egg tomatoes came fresh out of my garden moments before I made the salad - now that is fresh!
This salad is fairly simple, with the hearts of palm as the star and a simple but very Costa Rican dressing of lime, coriander, salt and olive oil. The hearts of palm were certainly a new experience for me. I'm not sure how they would traditionally be cooked/stored/prepared in Costa Rica, but I found the tinned ones to be very soft in texture and a bit mushy. They had a similar texture to tinned asparagus, in my opinion. I think I read on somebody else's blog that they described the hearts of palm as being 'crunchy'. In this case I can only assume that there is some other way to get them than in a tin because mine certainly weren't crunchy! The taste was pleasant and mild though, and it was great to try out an exotic new ingredient in my salad!
Hearts of Palm Salad with Lime & Coriander Dressing
1 x 400ml tin Hearts of Palm
2-3 handfuls of mesclun/loose lettuce leaves
2 lebanese cucumbers
1 punnet of cherry or grape tomatoes
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped coriander
Cracked black pepper and salt
1. Drain the tin of hearts of palm and slice.
2. Slice the cucumber into sticks and halve the cherry tomatoes.
3. Arrange the mesclun on a platter and top with the cucumber, tomatoes and hearts of palm.
2. Combine all remaining ingredients in a jar and shake well to combine. Drizzle over the salad and top with more chopped coriander, to taste.
Serves 4-6 as a side salad.
This month I'm featuring lots of delicious food from Costa Rica.
Check out my other recipe posts: