Monday, November 07, 2005


Hearts of Palm & Avocado Salad

Now, now, I know I'm not supposed to play with my food, but then again, isn't that what cooking really is? Adults playing with their food? (In a more controlled envoirnment?) Like when I have some hearts of palm (mmm. Now there is a tree I could hug) I can't resist the urge to make something out of them. The dense white rings stack up so nicely and have such a fantastically architectural thing going on, it's just a given I will make them look as fancy as can be. Plus, toppling them over when it's time to eat is just good fun.

This salad, which is a snap to make, is a perfect-dream balance of rich and tart, salty and fresh. Hearts of palm, if you have never encountered them, are a little bit salty and faintly nutty. They come in jars or cans, and should be rinsed before you eat them. (Gets rid of some of that salty water they are packed in) Of course, you don't have to stack it up in such a grandious manner, but it certainly does add to the visual appeal. I have actually posted a similar recipe to this before, with the addition of scallops, but at lunch time yesterday, I had my camera handy so I am posting it again in all its technicolor splendor. Oh and don't feel like you should be restricted to the recipe, there are really a zillion additions that make sense here. Anything from black beans and mango to red onion slices and orange segments or shredded cabbage and lime juice. This is the perfect dish to let your imagination run wild. Try it, and enjoy.

3 tablespoons olive oil
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 small clove garlic, minced
1 can (16 oz.), hearts of palm, cut into 1/4 inch rings
1 large ripe avocado, peeled and diced
12-15 large cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon zest and juice. (To make things super easy, I use my microplaner for the lemon zest and to mince the garlic) Add the rest of the ingredients and gently (use a rubber spatula so your avocado doesn't mush up) toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Makes 2 servings


Prospective investors were stunned Oct. 5 when the private placement offering for the much anticipated Nancy Silverton-Mario Batali restaurant hit their desks. Shares in the Italian kitchen are being offered at a record $100,000 each, a startlingly large sum in Los Angeles, where buying into a top restaurant rarely costs more than $25,000 a share, and never more than $50,000. It's a lower-risk, lower-reward offer than most L.A. restaurant deals. Investors are to be reimbursed 100% before Silverton and Batali get a cut of the profits, according to prospective investors familiar with the offering. After that, however, it's an owner-heavy 75-25 profit split. A more typical owner-investor profit split is 50-50 from opening day. - Los Angeles Times

The state tree of South Carolina is the Cabbage palmetto, and is also on the state flag. The Cabbage Palmetto is the plant that hearts of palm are obtained from.

Never refrigeate tomatoes. They lose flavor and nutrients that way.

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I love the photo! It is really tempting, both the pic and the recipe! I'll have to try it!

Architecturally, the project looks sound. I worry about the food-height to splash-my-tie ration though. I do miss picking my own avacados...
Rachel, that photo is very whimsical. It's nice when you can construct small buildings with your food before you eat it. I have actually wondered many times (apparently, tho, never when I was at my computer and had the ability to look it up) where hearts of palm came from. I was imagining a very tasty treat in the middle of all of these palm tree around here! This sounds dee-lish.
How yummy do those photos look? Great shots.
I am on a fast and love avocados so needless to say...I want one!
SoCal - How funny. I have thought the same thing...could I just peel that tree there and dig in? LOL

Kirsten, my sweet peach. You are lookin' beyond fab these morsel of avocado could possibly be worth ending a spiritually and physically cleansing fast. Keep it up girl!

Champ - THe beauty is, you can really spear each slice without toppling it...fear not. Your tie is safe.

Ilva - I hope you will!
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