27 sept 2010

Costa Rican hearts of palm salad

Hearts of palm
Bactris gasipaes is a species of palm native to the tropical forests of the South and Central America. It is a palm which can typically grow to 20 m or taller, with pinnate leaves 3 m long on a 1 m long petiole. The fruit is a drupe with an edible pulp surrounding the single seed, 4-6 cm long and 3-5 cm broad. The rind (epicarp) of this wild palm can be red, yellow, or orange when the fruit is ripe depending on the variety of the palm.
This plant may also be harvested for heart of palm, and has commercial advantages in being fast growing; the first harvest can be from 18 to 24 months after planting. In Brazil, it is a viable solution for the heart of palm cultivation industry because its agricultural characteristics are adequate for it to be beneficial to substitute it for other native palms such as species of Euterpe including Euterpe oleracea (known as açaí) and Euterpe edulis (known as juçara), that have been extensively exploited and are protected as endangered species. The Brazilian domestic market for heart of palm is about five times bigger than the external one; however, there is an increasing demand for this product internationally as it is increasingly used in international cookery. In addition, the cultivation of Bactris gasipaes is also economically important for Costa Rica.

Costa Rican hearts of palm salad
  • 2 16-ounce cans of hearts of palm
  • 1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth (remove fat)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ground pepper to taste
  • very small amount of salt (optional)
  • lettuce leaves
How to cook it
Drain the hearts of palm, cut them into ½-inch pieces, and put them into a large bowl. Stir in the red pepper, yellow pepper, and chopped parsley.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, chicken broth, and olive oil. Drizzle the dressing over the hearts of palm mixture and toss gently. Season to taste with salt (optional) and pepper. Line a serving bowl with lettuce leaves, spoon the salad on top and serve.

© Text and image: Wikipedia / Recipe: www.world-recipes.info  

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