Hearts of Palm in Iron Chef

In the Kitchen Stadium´s battle, the Chairman provided not one but a whole cornucopia of ingredients. He challenged the Iron Chef and his challenger to create an inspired tropical meal.

Some of the ingredients on the altar, such as coconuts, pineapples, mangos and green papaya are reasonably well known to regular viewers of Food Network, therefore it was necessary to focus on one ingredient with which people might not be quite so familiar: hearts of palm.

How do people cook with hearts of palm?

Hearts of palm have many uses in the kitchen.  It can be used both as a vegetable in its own right or to supplement other dishes.

If the person is a fan of soups, he/she can try simmering hearts of palm gently, in chicken or vegetable stock with a little onion, garlic and potato. Blend the vegetables together to make the soup thicker and add a little cream to make it richer. A dusting of fresh nutmeg right at the end will add an earthy note to the final dish.

Thinly sliced hearts of palm can make an excellent topping for pizza and are great in salads, either with other vegetables, such as cucumber and tomatoes, or on their own with just a light dressing of a cilantro and balsamic vinaigrette.

France imports and consumes more hearts of palm than any other nation, and one of the most memorable dishes you can find there are poached hearts of palm served in a brown butter and lemon sauce topped with a little chervil.
In Florida, hearts of palm are used to make a Millionaire’s Salad along with artichoke hearts and pimentos. The name originally reflected the cost of cutting down a sizeable tree just to get its juicy inner contents.

Finally, if someone is looking for an interesting appetizer, they can try coating slices of hearts of palm with panko bread crumbs and then deep-frying them until golden brown. Top them off with a tomato sauce recipe or even with a sharp tartar sauce made with mayonnaise, capers and diced pickles.