Monday, 30 April 2012
I was sent a few tins of these cooks & co Hearts of Palma week or so ago to try out. I had never eaten hearts of Palm before and wasn't sure what I could do with them, but I'm game to try most things. I think they are seen as a somewhat exotic ingredient. I know my ex boss used to bring tins of them back from America when she came back from her frequent trips over there. I had never actually used them . . . although I did know she liked them in salads.
From the cooks & co site: The unique flavour and texture of cooks & co Hearts of Palm make them a surprisingly versatile food. For a quick appetiser add a simple vinaigrette dressing or alternatively wrap in Smoked Salmon or Parma Ham for a more luxurious version. Slice them to add to salads, pizzas, quiches and tarts.
I ate one right out of the tin and found it had a very pleasant flavour and texture, somewhat similar to artichokes. I was impressed and all the wheels in my head started to turn!
The first thing I decided to make with them was a delicious tart. I used pufff pastry and spread it with a pesto mayonnaise. I sprinkled on cheese and added toppings of sliced Hearts of Palm, sliced olives, flaked tuna, chopped hot peppers, red onion, and parmesan cheese.
Somewhat like a pizza, but with a different base and a lot flakier. It tasted fabulous and Todd and I both really enjoyed this tasty treat! Todd didn't complain about it being like a pizza either, coz it wasn't pizza . . . it was a tart! (MEN!) (I must apologize for my pictures. It's a very overcast and gloomy day today and I couldn't get a great photo at all. I like to use natural light as much as possible)
*Cheesy Tuna and Hearts of Palm Tart*
Makes one large tart, serving approx 6 people
This is just something I kind of threw together. It turned out to be delicious!
1 box of ready rolled puff pastry (In the chiller section of the grocery store.
I use the all butter puffed pastry)
one egg yolk beaten together with some water
2 heaped dessertspoons of mayonnaise
2 tsp of basil pesto
a couple handfuls of a shredded cheese mixture (mine had cheddar, mozzarella, jack and gouda cheeses in it)
1 small tin of albacore tuna in brine, drained and flaked
a handful of olives, sliced (I used the green and black dry cured with herbs, pitted)
about 5 Peppadew pickled peppers, chopped coarsely
1 400g tin of Hearts of Palm, drained and sliced into coins
1 small red onion, peeled and chopped
a couple of TBS of finely grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat your oven to 220*C/425*F/ gas mark 7. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment. Spray it lightly with some cooking spray.
Unroll the puff pastry onto the tray. Using a sharp knife, make a shallow cut all the way around the sheet of pastry, creating a 1/2 inch border all the way around. Brush this border with the egg yolk. Stir together the pesto and mayonnaise. Spread this evenly all over the pastry inside of the outside border. This will be your base. Sprinkle with the cheese mixture to cover.
Mix together the flaked tuna, sliced hearts of palm, pickled peppers, red onion and sliced olives. Sprinkle this mixture over top of the cheese, evenly. Sprinkle with a light dusting of Parmesan Cheese.
Bake in the heated oven for 10 to 15 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Cut into squares to serve. Serve hot or cold. Delicious either way.
With the other tin I debated on whether I would make a soup or a salad. I finally decided on the salad. I thought that these tasty hearts of palm would be delicious with streaky bacon wrapped around them (kind of like you do around asparagus spears) and then roasted until the bacon was crisp.
Then I laid them out onto salad greens, topped them with an Italian Vinaigrette and some Parmesan cheese and wowsa wowsa . . . a new favourite was born! I'm almost ashamed to call this a recipe as it was so simple to do, but I put it down in recipe form anyways for continuity.
This was really good too. Todd's not really a salad man, but he sure enjoyed just eating them as they were with the bacon wrapped around them, all crisp and salty. I can imagine that proscuitto or Parma ham would also be fabulous wrapped around them!
*Bacon and Hearts of Palm Salad*
Serves 4 - 6
This was rather good if I don't say so myself. I quite liked it.
1 400g tin of hearts of palm, well drained
sliced streaky bacon, enough for 1 slice per heart of palm
4 cups of mixed salad leaves
Italian Vinaigrette salad dressing
freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/ gas mark 6. Line a rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil. Set aside.
Take your drained hearts of palm and wrap one rasher of streaky bacon around each, slightly stretching it as you go. Place each onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake the bacon wrapped palm hearts in the preheated oven until the bacon is nicely crisped. Remove from the oven and drain on a bit of paper kitchen toweling.
Divide your salad leaves amongst 4 to 6 chilled salad plates. Top each with one or two bacon wrapped hearts of palm. Drizzle with Italian dressing and dust a few sprinkles of Parmesan cheese over top. Serve immediately. Delicious!
I would have to say that we both agree that these are a delicious vegetable. (I'm not sure if you could call them a vegetable, but that's what I am calling them.) I think I am going to be buying another few tins to have on hand. I do want to make a soup with them as I think they would make a fantastic soup and to be honest . . . I quite, quite enjoyed just eating it like you would a carrot stick, etc. I am thinking they would make a fabulous hot dip as well! (with cheese and garlic, and oh my . . . my taste buds are tingling now!)
Many thanks to the cooks & co people and to Simon for sending me these to try. They are available in most food shops at £1.99 a tin.
I loved them!!