The heart of the palm is actually the inner part of the palm tree, a tree that grows in tropical regions. It is sometimes called "palm cabbage", although it is not at all part of the same family as other cabbages. The flavour of the palm heart is sweet and its flesh is very tender. Its taste is reminiscent of artichoke hearts.
The most common way to prepare hearts of palm is by incorporating them into a mixed salad. You can find them fresh or canned. If you opt for canned ones, you only need to rinse them as they are pre-cooked. There are also other ways to enjoy them:
- In gratin, with a thick béchamel sauce with nutmeg;
- As a starter: roll up long pieces of a slice of smoked salmon (or ham) and serve with a Roquefort (or other blue cheese) dip;
- Add to an exotic rice salad with sultanas and diced pineapple;
- On pizzas;
- In quiches, omelettes, savoury pies and frittatas;
- Quickly sautéed in butter with garlic and parsley, they go wonderfully with fish and seafood;
- Roasted in olive oil;
- In tabbouleh, chickpea salad or other legumes;
- In seafood pasta dishes;
- As an aperitif: on toast and canapés, in verrines, etc.
Their health benefits
Palm heart is a very light vegetable: it contains only about 45 calories per 100 g portion (about 4 medium sized cylinders). It is also a good source of fibre and can help stimulate lazy bowels. If you eat the canned ones, it already contains a lot of salt and it is best not to add more.
Recipe for a good palm heart salad
- 3 hearts of palm
- About 600ml of milk and water
- Lemon juice (2 medium lemons),
- 2 tablespoons of white vinegar,
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Remove the tender part of the palm hearts and cut them into thin slices. Place them immediately in the milk and water mixture to prevent them from turning brown. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix the lemon juice, vinegar and vegetable oil.
- When ready to serve, remove the palm core from the milk and water and dry on paper towels. Add to the lemon juice mixture, season with salt and pepper and mix well. Eat immediately.