Hola! Heart of A Peach Palm

Sometimes when looking up recipe ideas, and following various trails on the internet, I lose track of what got the process started.  I believe in this case it was a mention of Costa Rican Ceviche Salad, utilizing heart of palm. But the most important thing mentioned on that recipe site (for me anyway) was that Peach Palms are clonal - i.e. clumping.  At that point a little light bulb flashed in my brain. I jumped up from the computer and ran downstairs, out to the garden, to inspect my Peach Palm. It had been planted a number of years ago with the idea of providing us heart of palm, as an alternative to cutting down a coconut palm for its heart, which is the growing tip at the very top of a palm, inside the bark.  Not that I would.  When one of my brothers was a tree trimmer, in his youth, he brought us some.  However, in the years following, always in the back of my mind, I had the idea that cutting the peach palm down for a salad would be wasteful, and then there would be no more. So it remained untouched.

But, clonal means that the palm should be making little ones, known here in Hawaii as keikis.  Sure enough, that tall palm had a friend, right in back of it, which I hadn't noticed - so there were two tall ones.  And, at the base were new sprouts coming up, next to where a load of mulch had just been dumped. Oh boy, one of my happy dances ensued!  Right before chopping down a palm (yes, with some delegating). Now we can look at the palms as a sort of pantry, in which are now included various coconut palms here and there, which have sprouted from dropped coconuts, and were about to be uprooted and tossed.  Oh no!

             Costa Rican Ceviche - Ensalada Palmito (heart of palm salad)

Ingredients - reduce for the amount you want to serve
½ of a palm tree heart – coconut or Peach palm (or two 14 oz cans of hearts of palm) cut into small bite sized pieces
lettuce leaves, broken in pieces
1 vine ripened tomato, chopped
1 red or yellow sweet pepper, chopped
juice of 1 fresh lime
fresh ground black pepper
or  mayonnaise to taste

Toss together then add lime, salt and grind fresh pepper to taste, or dress with mayonnaise, as is common in Costa Rican restaurants. Actually, a mix of both would be good

A bit more research revealed that a palm heart can also be cooked - fried, baked, braised, etc., giving a slightly different, softer texture. Above some palm heart, breaded and fried, then served on the side of a whole other salad, bolstering slices of ham.  Cooking can be a trip, an adventure!  Tonight my grandson is bringing over a "bass" he caught.  He says it's from the ocean, but closely resembles a bass in shape and meat texture/taste, but is actually grouper. So I've looked up a recipe for bass from Mario's Babbo.  Well that's some of what's been going on here cooking wise.  Will link this to Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking event. Check it out, always good for recipe ideas and to see what people are reading.  You might also link up your own food related post.


Debra Eliotseats said...

What a great story. Glad you ran out to check your peach palm. These recipes are so fresh and delicious! Stay safe!

Mae Travels said...

I think we had fresh palm hearts once in Costa Rica, but otherwise have had only canned ones. So neat that you are growing your own.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Tina said...

Good thing you researched that and glad it worked out. I e never had this fresh!

Beth F said...

Yay you for remembering to go check garden!

Carole said...

I don't think I've ever tasted heart of palm - is it sort of like an artichoke? Star safe and kia kaha

Marg said...

I have never tried heart of palm!

Claudia said...

Carole, it's crunchy, sort of like cabbage, celery or cucumber, with a mild nutty taste.