I bet you some of you have never tasted Heart of Palms? Or maybe I’m wrong, but if there is a single vegetable that I have encountered that give people a pause is hearts of palm.
Hearts of palms are the inner portion of the stem of the sabal Palmetto, or “swamp cabbage,” palm tree. They have a taste similar to artichokes but look like white asparagus without the tops. They are grown primarily in Florida, Brazil, Ecuador and Costa Rica, and are usually purchased canned and packed in water.
If you have never tried them, I urge you to do so because these little gems are delicious. I’m not going to lie, they’re a bit pricey due to the harvest process, which is labor intensive thus regarding the as a delicacy but, they are now commercially farmed making them a bit more affordable. If you find them in your local supermarket, take a chance by treating yourself to getting a can and making this refreshing salad.
They are served raw or cooked and can be found in all types of salads, on top of pizza or even stuffed with cheese and meats and believe it or not they also pair well with seafood – think a good ceviche!
At our house we eat them all the time and this salad is easy and fast to make, perfect as a side dish or for a healthy light lunch or dinner.
HEARTS OF PALM AND TOMATO SALAD
- 1 jar/can of hearts of palm
- 1 package of cherry tomatoes
- Fresh Basil – chopped – about 1 tablespoon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Remove the hearts of palm from the can/jar into a colander placed in the sink, and let them drain well while you cut the tomatoes. Place the tomatoes in the bowl you will be using and sprinkle with a couple of pinches of salt and ground fresh pepper, toss and let them sit for a bit to soak up the salt and pepper.
Cut the hearts of palm into slices about ½ inch thick, breaking it apart into rings or cutting the larger slices in half if they don’t break apart. Add to the tomatoes. Chop the basil thinly and toss in the bowl. Again season with a couple of dashes of salt. Taste and adjust.
To make the dressing, pour the vinegar and lime juice in a small bowl. Add a dash of salt and black pepper. Pour the oil in a slow stream, whisking with a whisk or fork to emulsify.
Toss the salad and the dressing together and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before serving to get those flavors to marinate.