Wednesday, February 25, 2009

rice w palm hearts

I recently found a can of palm hearts in the grocery store across the street from my apartment. These delicious shoots are ridiculously expensive and, despite the fact that they’re canned, have the most exquisite, completely moreish flavour.

This vegetarian side dish tasted wonderfully rich and the palm hearts brought on a sweet, saltiness reminiscent of scallops. In fact I was shocked just how much this dish tasted of scallop mornay.

It was very good.

I found a recipe on a Costa Rican recipe website but soon discovered that many of the instructions did not make sense and that the measurements were totally incorrect.

Below is my own recipe based vaguely on the original.

After making the dish I thought it was funny to note that I chose a Costa Rican recipe since Costa Rica seems to be one of the largest global producers of palm hearts (I think Brazil is the largest).

Arroz con Palmitos (Rice w Palm Hearts)
Anna’s very own recipe. Serves 6 as side dish.

400g can palm hearts, cut in small pieces
1½ cups cooked white rice
½ cup crème fraîche
5 garlic cloves, crushed & fried until soft
½ onion, very finely chopped & fried until soft
150g butter
4 tablespoons flour
½ cup white wine
1 cup cream
½ cup milk
2 egg yolks
¼ cup chopped parsley
½ cup shredded mozzarella
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground white pepper

1. Preheat oven to 180’C.
2. Melt the butter in a pan, add the flour and whisk briskly until completely combined. Continue whisking for 5 minutes as the sauce foams and cooks.
3. Remove from the heat and leave for 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile combine the egg yolks with the wine.
5. Add the egg mixture to the cooled sauce and whisk quickly. It will form sticky dough.
6. Add the cream and mix until it becomes a thick sauce.
7. Add the milk in batches to thin out the sauce to desired consistency.
8. Add salt, garlic and onion and combine well.
9. In a bowl, mix the crème fraîche and white pepper with the rice and spread out evenly in the base of a baking dish.
10. Cover with hearts of palm, dispersing evenly.
11. Pour over creamy sauce.
12. Sprinkle with parlsey and then shredded cheese.
13. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes or until heated through, cheese has melted and edges are starting to brown.


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