We recently rediscovered hearts of palm in a salad a friend served with dinner. Their tubular shape and fibrous texture can seem a little odd to the uninitiated, but once you try them, you'll understand why we've been adding them to all our dishes!
Hearts of palm are actually the stem tips harvested from growing palm trees. When fresh, hearts of palm are crisp and a little sweet.
It can be hard to find fresh hearts of palm, and most American markets only carry it canned. Still delicious, canned hearts of palm are more tender and soft. We think it has a nutty, slightly musky flavor, making it a good base flavor for fresh salads.
It can be eaten both raw and cooked. If using canned, you can leave them in long tubes or cut them into coins (as pictured above). We also like to add minced hearts of palm to pasta sauces, risotto, and the fillings of empanadas and calzones.
What's your favorite recipe using hearts of palm?
Related: Ingredient Spotlight: Spaghetti Squash
(Image: Flickr member Chotda licensed under Creative Commons)