Friday, February 21, 2014

Salada de Palmito- Hearts of Palm Salad- Brazilian Food Recipes


This salad of hearts and palms, olives, peas and tomatoes is a Brazilian favorite. Hearts of palm have long been a part of Brazil’s cuisine. The Amerindians of the Atlantic coastal region in and around the state of Bahia first shared hearts of palm, which grow in abundance in Brazil’s tropical climate, with the Portuguese colonists.

This easy-to-make salad featuring this simple ingredient is uncommonly refreshing and will be the perfect accompaniment to your Brazilian meal. Hearts of palm is consistently tender and delicious, they have become favorites of chefs the world over, complementing a wide range of recipes. They make a delightful appetizer or side dish when sautéed with butter and topped with grated Parmesan. They may also be enjoyed straight from the can as a low-calorie snack, or sliced and served as a wonderful addition to any salad. Once you try them, we know that they will become a favorite addition to your culinary life.

When making this creamy salad, most Brazilian cooks include hearts of palm, which come from the stems of certain palm trees. Hearts of palm are available canned in most grocery stores, but if you have trouble finding them, the salad is just as tasty without them. I have tried buying at and I'm satisfied. If you don't have time buy it at Native Forest Organic Hearts of Palm. This is the bestselling brand. Also, to save time you may want to use a cup or two of packaged shoestring potatoes instead of frying your own.

What is Heart of Palm?

Heart of palm, also called palm heart, chonta, palm cabbage or swamp cabbage, is a vegetable harvested from the inner core and growing bud of certain palm trees (notably the coconut (Cocos nucifera), Palmito Juçara (Euterpe edulis), Açaí palm (Euterpe oleracea), sabal (Sabal spp.) and pejibaye (Bactris gasipaes) palms). The edible inner part of the stem of the cabbage palm tree, with a flavor similar to artichokes. Hearts of palm are slender, ivory-colored and delicately flavored resembling white asparagus for some people, without the tips. Hearts of palm are about 4 inches long and range in diameter from pencil-thin to 1- 1.5 inches.

Harvesting of many non-cultivated or wild single-stemmed palms results in palm tree death (e.g. Geonoma edulis). However, other palm species are clonal or multi-stemmed plants (e.g. Prestoea acuminata, Euterpe oleracea) and moderate harvesting will not kill the entire clonal palm. Heart of palm may be eaten on its own, and often it is eaten in a salad.

An alternative to wild heart of palm are palm varieties which have undergone a process of adaptation to become a domesticated farm species. The main variety that has been domesticated is the botanical species Bactris gasipaes, known in Ecuador as chontaduro, in Costa Rica as palmito, and in English as the peach palm. This variety is the most widely used for canning. Peach palms are self-suckering and produce multiple stems, up to 40 on one plant, so harvesting several stems from a plant is not so expensive because the plant can live on. Another advantage it has over other palms is that it has been selectively bred to eliminate the vicious thorns of its wild cousins. Since harvesting is still a labor intensive task, palm hearts are regarded as a delicacy.

As of 2008, Costa Rica is the primary source of fresh palm hearts in the US. Peach palm is also cultivated in Hawaii, and now has limited distribution on the mainland, primarily to the restaurant trade. Florida's wild Sabal palmetto or cabbage palm was once a source of hearts of palm but is now protected by conservation law.

Brazil was the highest producer of uncultivated hearts of palm, but in the 1990s its quality went down - mostly because of unsustainable poaching for stems (called colete, Portuguese for "vest") of the main producing species, Euterpe edulis - which is now considered as threatened with extinction in the wild. This left the market open for Ecuador to export its cultivated hearts of palm. Ecuador is now one of the main producers of hearts of palm. France is the largest importer of hearts of palm.

Watch Video: How It's Made Hearts of Palm

When harvesting the cultivated young palm, the tree is cut down and the bark is removed leaving layers of white fibers around the center core. During processing the fibers are removed leaving the center core or heart of palm. The center core is attached to a slightly more fibrous cylindrical base with a larger diameter. The entire cylindrical center core and the attached base are edible. The center core is considered more of a delicacy because of its lower fiber content.


Serves 4


1 6-ounce can hearts of palm, preferably organic
2 cups hot water
1 lime
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 medium-size oranges, preferably organic
2 ripe medium-size tomatoes, preferably organic
1/2 head of lettuce, Boston, red or green leaf, or romaine, preferably organic
1/2 cup whole, unsalted cashews
4 to 5 sprigs fresh mint


1) Drain the hearts of palm in a colander, and place them in a bowl. Cover them with the hot water and set them aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

2) Cut the lime in half. Squeeze the juice and add it to a small jar with a tight-fitting lid.

3)  Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper.

4) Put the lid on the jar, shake well, and set aside. This is the salad dressing.

5) Wash and peel the oranges, cut them into thin slices crosswise, and set aside.

6) Wash the tomatoes, cut out the stem circle from the top, and dice the remaining part into small chunks. Place them in a bowl.

7) Drain the hearts of palm and gently shake the colander to remove any excess moisture.

8) Cut the hearts into ½-inch-round slices and add them to the bowl with the tomatoes.

9) Shake the dressing again and pour it over the palm-and-tomato combination.

10)  Wash the lettuce leaves and pat them dry with paper towels.

11) Arrange the lettuce leaves on a platter.

12) Mound the palm-and-tomato combination in the center of the leaves.

13) Arrange the orange slices and cashew nuts around the outer edge of the platter.

14) Wash the fresh mint and remove the leaves from the stems.

15) Garnish the salad with the mint leaves and serve cold.

Try other healthy and delicious recipes at Brazilian Food Recipes

Hearts of palm are harvested from the inner core of certain palm trees. Costa Rica is the main supplier of hearts of palm to the United States. You may find them fresh, but more often they are canned or packed in glass jars. Try them sliced in salads or puréed in soups and sauces.

What is Hearts of Palm Taste Like?

Hard to describe what they taste like. They kind of look like white asparagus minus the tips. The texture is crisp without the 'crunch'.  They are soft, yet firm to the touch, and have a mild sweetness. The is flavor similar to artichokes for some culinary experts it is delicately flavored resembling white asparagus for others.

How to Select Hearts of Palm

Choose moist, intact hearts of palm that are unblemished. Avoid or discard bruised or overly soft stalks.

How to Store Hearts of Palm

Fresh hearts of palm should be refrigerated immediately. Unused, tightly sealed portions can be stored for up to 2 weeks. Store cans or jars out of sunlight at room temperature. Once opened, use within 1 week.

Try this healthy vegetarian recipe... Eggless Egg-Salad


Hearts of Palm, Canned

hearts of palm, vegetables, salad, palmito, veggies

A Grade
41 Calories

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 cup (146 g)

Per Serving

% Daily Value
Calories 41

Calories from Fat 8

Total Fat 0.9g
Saturated Fat 0.2g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3g

Monounsaturated Fat 0.2g

Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 622mg
Potassium 258mg
Carbohydrates 6.7g
Dietary Fiber 3.5g
Sugars 0.0g

Protein 3.7g

Vitamin A
Vitamin C

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