A few years ago, while standing in the canned vegetables aisle of a supermarket, I picked up a can of hearts of palm, looked at it and thought, “I know I ate these somewhere, but they looked boring and tasted bland. Maybe tonight I can turn these ‘palmitos’ into an exciting dish”. Later that day, as I prepared dinner for my friends, I cut the hearts of palm into bite-size pieces and tossed them with olives, lemon, and other ingredients I had on hand.
My novelty appetizer-salad not only looked fresh and inviting, but my guests were amazed at how hearts of palm could become such a colorful and exquisite appetizer. That night, the Hearts of Palm & Olives must have been an instant hit because I never had a chance to put any on my plate.
Prep time: 10 to 15 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6
One 14-ounce can Roland’s® Hearts of Palm, drained and rinsed
½ cup Spanish olives
2 tablespoons chopped red onion, rinsed in cold water (excess water squeezed out of onion)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh, Italian flat-leaf parsley and 1 sprig (for garnish)
1 celery stalk, peeled and chopped into ¼-inch pieces
Juice of ½ lime
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients (except the sprig of parsley) and gently toss together.
2. Taste and adjust oil and/or seasonings.
3. Transfer the salad to a serving bowl and garnish with the parsley sprig.
Serve immediately as an appetizer, accompanied by cheese, bread, your favorite wine, friends and music.
Note: “Palmitos” is Spanish for “hearts of palm”. The country with the largest production of palmitos is Costa Rica.
Text & Photograph ©2011 Nancy DeLucia Real