1/5/10

Guess the ingredient in this not-your-average salad

Growing up in Russia, when we said we were going to have a salad, we did not mean iceberg lettuce. Salad to us was a combination of cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and sunflower oil or cucumbers, radishes, sour cream and dill. You see, to this day, I rarely include lettuce in my salads: to me, it's more fun to use a variety of vegetables with a bite to them instead of greens that mostly just contain water.

Years ago I was visiting my friend Cindy and her family, and her dinner salad included something I've never seen before. Take a look below: do you recognize this vegetable? (I'll tell you what it is after the photograph)

The photograph above is of hearts of palm. According to Wikipedia, heart of palm is "a vegetable harvested from the inner core and growing bud of certain palm trees. It is costly because harvesting in the wild kills the tree. Heart of palm is often eaten in a salad, sometimes called 'millionaire's salad'."
I guess this would explain why a can of marinated hearts of palm costs around $3.50 in a store. But they are worth it. The texture and taste reminds me of marinated white asparagus.
Here is the Not-Your-Average salad I made with hearts of palm:
Ingredients
spinach
hard-boiled egg, cut into wedges
tomato, cut into wedges
red pepper, cut into strips
hearts of palm, cut lengthwise
olive oil
salt & pepper

Directions
You can either mix all the ingredients together or make a composed salad that shows off each ingredient. Drizzle the salad with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Don't you agree that this looks more fun than a plate of lettuce with a few random slices of cucumbers and tomatoes tossed in?
What ingredients do you add to your salads to make them stand out?

28 comments:

Jo said...

yummy! love hearts of palm and your salad looks amazing Olga! Happy new year to my favorite blogger... may 2010 be everything you hope it to be!

lisaiscooking said...

Your salad looks delicious! I love hard boiled eggs with salad. I like adding olives too.

Lea Ann said...

Beautiful!!! I have everything on hand for this and will be having it for lunch. THANKS

Elra said...

My husband love heart's of palm, I am okay with it. He definitely will appreciate this salad.

Heavenly Housewife said...

Fascinating! I've never tried this before. I'll have to keep my eyes out for it. Beautiful colorful salad. And I totally agree with you on the lettuce thing. To make my salads stand out I candied nuts (but then its fatty and you loose the point of having a salad LOL).

Zoe said...

I love hearts of palm too. I like to put toasted pecans or shaved parmesan on my salads, just for a little something extra!

Justin said...

amazingly, i guess it was hearts of palm, but i don't think i've ever tried it before!

5 Star Foodie said...

Hearts of palm is an essential part of our favorite white salad that I make. Love them!

Leslie said...

never had hearts of palm...maybe I should give them a whirl

pigpigscorner said...

Very interesting, I've never heard of that before.

Mary said...

What a lovely salad. We had a great deal of heart of palm in China. I love it.

Jen said...

That is pretty! I like chickpeas a.k.a garbanzos in a salad, especially caesar with pasta and spinach

♥peachkins♥ said...

I love hearts of palm. we make it into spring rolls!

Jennifer said...

Well, now I feel quite guilty. Love hearts of palm and had no idea it kills the tree to harvest them.

The Mr. is a fiend for crunch in his salads, so I often and crushed pecans, almonds or walnuts. In fact, last week I chopped some candied pecans and tossed them in with clementine slices.

lk (Healthy Delicious) said...

I knew what they were, but I've never had them before! Depending on what I want, my salads are all lettuce or no lettuce. If I want veggies, lettuce seems like a waste.

tigerfish said...

That's new to me.

Sophie said...

What a lovely salad!! I so love palm hearts!!

Carrie said...

My husband introduced me to hearts of palm after he first tried them in Brazil. We both LOVE them! And you're right, they go so well in a salad. This one looks great!

Erica said...

That looks delicious! I love salads with cooked egg. I usually add avocado and corn to my salads.

Junglefrog said...

That looks delicious. I actually agree that using iceberg lettuce in a salad is really not the best choice. There are a lot of lovely saladleaves out there though, so I do tend to include some of them. I've never had palm of hearts before! It looks a bit like asparagus!

Cindy said...

LOVE hearts of palm, but I'm really picky about them, and if they're not crunchy, I'm very disappointed. Also, they're really expensive!

cathy said...

We LOVE hearts of palm! Great addition to salads, and they're surprisingly high in iron and calcium and other good-for-you stuff.

preventionrd said...

It does add to the salad, definitely! I add sunflower seeds and avocado -- lots of healthy fats!

Love your blog, looking forward to reading more!

Sara said...

This looks amazing, especially compared to lettuce...

Elisa Yumi said...

This salad looks delicious...and Brazilian! I'm from Brazil and here, hearts of palm are a typical ingredient for salads.
Even in my country, "the land of the hearts of palm", they are quite expensive...

Thas said...

In India, especially Kerala( southern part), hearts of palm is widely available and we make a dish with this, moong dal and grated coconut. But, I've never tried adding this to a salad. This sounds interesting. Also, thanks for reminding me of this vegetable, I totally forgot about this. I am going to get this soon. Loved the pictures.

Arizona bankruptcy lawyer said...

Thanks for introducing this new vegetable. It looks refreshing.

Eomniscient said...

Thanks for an amazing recipe, love your blog
Low Fat Salad Recipes