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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Palm Sunday repost as per requests

Well today is Palm Sunday the religious celebration of Christ entering Jerusalem just a few days before becoming the offering of life for the world. That however is for my other blog Here I want to deal with the palm itself and especially as reference to cuisine.

Question: What does an apple, a highly polished hardwood floor, a great classic car, sweet rock candy and a bikini clad beach girl all have in common? Answer: Carnauba.

So what is carnauba? It is a wax derived from the leaves of a palm tree, it takes about 20 palm leaves to make 1 lb. of wax. All of the above make use of this wax to protected themselves. An apple treated with this natural wax will last 8 times longer than one not treated, the wax prevents the fruit from wrinkling and spoilage is delayed. Without the application of this wax to our food sources Canada's winters would be far more harsh as no fresh fruit and little vegetables would make their way here to us.

Carnauba is used in various food items that we consume without giving them a second thought. The eyes of Peeps are made from this wax, chocolate and candies are polished with it, it used to polish dental floss or to strengthen the paper plates you use at your picnic. Carnauba gives licorice it wonderful shine.

Some growers also use a wax derived from the lac beetle of the near and far east areas. This beetle places a protective shell around it's eggs, then once the eggs hatch workers climb the trees and scrape off the shell of the lac. Thus we have a word and a product called "shellac".

So on Palm Sunday be sure to part take in some great Palm recipes as you contemplate the meaning of the day.

I given you here a few recipes for various versions of what was once known as the "Millionaire's Salad" given how costly it is to harvest hearts of palm.

Wikipedia Article About Hearts of palm on Wikipedia

"Heart of palm, also called palm heart, palmito, 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). It is costly because harvesting kills the tree. Heart of palm is often eaten in a salad sometimes called "millionaire's salad".

The plant is native to the Amazon region. Brazil was the highest producer of uncultivated hearts of palm, but in the 1990's its quality went down. 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 one of the largest consumers of 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 a 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.

Over the years, consumption of hearts of palm have caused much controversy, due to the process by which the vegetable is obtained."

Hearts of Palm Salad

1/3 c. salad oil
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. aromatic bitters
2 tbsp. finely chopped stuffed green olives
1 (14 oz.) can hearts of palm, drained, sliced
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 tbsp. finely chopped onion
1 tbsp. finely chopped celery
6 c. torn Bibb lettuce

Combine salad oil, lemon juice, sugar, salt, bitters, paprika, olives, onion, and celery; beat well. Chill. At serving time toss together hearts of palm and lettuce in salad bowl. Add dressing and toss. Makes 6 servings.

Apple and Palm Salad

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 pinch ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
3 cups mixed salad greens
1 avocado - pitted, peeled, and cubed
2 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced thin
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup sliced hearts of palm

In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, ketchup, sugar, lemon juice, paprika, and pepper together. Stir in the chives and set aside.
Arrange the watercress on individual serving plates. Place apple, avocado, hearts of palm on top. Sprinkle with walnuts and drizzle with dressing.
Evenly sprinkle dressing over salad and serve.
Yield: 6 servings

Hearts Of Palm and Crab

1 cup hearts of palm, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 bunch watercress
1 head frisee
1 small head radicchio
8 oz precooked Dungeness crabmeat
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon julienned basil
1 tablespoon julienned mint
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch freshly ground white pepper
2 ruby red grapefruit, peel and pith removed, segmented, segments cut into 4 pieces each

Marinate the hearts of palm in the 3/4 cup of dressing (follows) for at least 2 hours.

Divide watercress between 2 plates; top each pile with hearts of palm. In another bowl, mix crabmeat, herbs and 1 tsp dressing; season with salt and pepper; toss until thoroughly mixed. Divide seasoned crab between 2 plates of watercress. Top with grapefruit pieces.


1/4 cup water
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp dry English mustard
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup full-flavored olive oil
3/4 cup salad oil

Whip all the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.

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