The layered and soft texture of hearts of palm is wonderfully unusual and tastes so good when it's dusted with cornflour and lightly fried. Serve up this warm hearts of palm salad with some homemade guacamole and pico de gallo and you've got a meal that will win the hearts of those who are lucky enough to enjoy it. Who said salads were boring and bland?

Warm Hearts of Palm Salad With Pico de Gallo [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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Serves

4-6

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Ingredients

For the Warm Hearts of Palm Salad:

  • 15 ounces canned hearts of palm, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup corn flour (cornstarch)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder (substitute cayenne powder if unavailable)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for shallow-frying
  • Fresh guacamole

For the Pico de Gallo:

  • 1 large bell pepper, seeds removed and cut into 1/4-inch diced pieces
  • 3 large tomatoes, seeds removed and cut into 1/4-in diced pieces
  • 1/2 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch diced pieces
  • 1 large jalapeño, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • large handful cilantro, chopped
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Preparation

To Make the Pico de Gallo:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients except the cilantro in a large bowl and set aside for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
  2. Stir through the coriander just before serving.

To Make the Warm Hearts of Palm Salad:

  1. Depending on the size of the palm hearts, either slice them in half on an angle or slice into thick discs on an angle.
  2. Combine the corn flour, spices, salt. and pepper in a bowl and toss through the palm hearts to coat evenly.
  3. Pour the vegetable oil into a frying pan until 1/2-inch deep and heat over high heat until hot but not smoking. Shake off the excess flour from the palm slices and gently place in the oil. Fry on all sides until golden brown and crisp. Alternatively, you can deep-fry the palm slices.
  4. Make a thick line of guacamole down the centre of a serving platter, then place the salsa on top. Place the fried palm slices on the salsa so they are at different angles. Scatter with extra cilantro and serve.

Notes

Recipes excerpted with permission from Smith & Daughters: A Cookbook (that happens to be vegan) by Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse, published by Hardie Grant Books March 2017, RRP $35.00 hardcover. Smith & Daughters is an award-winning vegan restaurant in Melbourne, Australia, twice voted Time Out People’s Choice Restaurant of the Year (2016 and 2014). https://www.amazon.com/Smith-Daughters-Cookbook-Happens-Vegan/dp/1743792077/?tag=onegrepla-20

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