Fried Hearts of Palm with a Spicy Coconut Sauce


Hearts of palm, or palmito, is a very popular ingredient in Brazilian cuisine. As you can probably tell from the name, it is a vegetable that comes from the inner core of certain types of palm trees. They are skinny, white tubes with a very blunt, tangy, artichoke-like flavor and tender, velvety texture. In Brazil, we eat them in salads, by themselves, as well as cooked in hot dishes.

I love palmito in any form, but especially cooked! During my last visit to Brazil, my family and I visited restaurant that served Brazilian-style crepes. I ordered a crepe filled with shrimp and palmito in a coconut sauce. It was amazing! And since then, I have never been able to get the flavor out of my mind. This fried palmito with spicy coconut sauce recipe is a play on that crepe dish I had. The flavor combination is a match made in heaven. The warm and juicy hearts of palm, soaked in the sweet and spicy, silky coconut sauce, marry together perfectly creating samba party explosion in your mouth! 

Fried Hearts of Palm

Canola oil, for frying
1 jar hearts of palm (5 sticks/tubes)
1 egg
1 cup plain bread crumbs
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Pour enough oil into a large frying pan to \reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees F.

Working gently, pat the hearts of palm dry with a paper towel and cut in half.

Stir the bread crumbs, salt and pepper in a bowl to blend. Whisk the eggs in another small bowl. Gently dip the hearts of palm in the egg to coat completely and allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Coat the hearts of palm in the bread crumb mixture, patting to adhere and coat completely.

When the oil is hot,  fry the hearts of palm until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried hearts of palm to paper towels and drain.

Spicy Coconut Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

In a saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and sweat until they become translucent. Add tomato and cook mixture for 2-3 minutes. Add coconut milk, cayenne, salt and pepper and let mixture simmer until sauce thickens, about 4-5 minutes.


FOODalogue said...

I love palmitos but have only had them in salad. This looks like a great appetizer, especially with that spicy coconut sauce.

The Duo Dishes said...

Wish hearts of palm weren't so expensive. Those little guys can be crazy pricey, especially the organic ones. Guess it's due to the harvesting process. They are so velvety and good though. Ever had them in a sushi roll? Delish. Great pairing with creamy coconut sauce!

Edward Sargent said...

This looks so good. I have to try these soon.
Weekend Food Projects

Sanura at MyLifeRunsOnFood.com said...

I've never had Hearts of Palm, so I'm looking for them in New York. That coconut sauce looks delicious.

Magic of Spice said...

I love hearts of palm and this is such a fantastic way to prepare them...so delicious!

Bren Herrera said...

I'm with Chrystal... they can be so pricey... but I love them in salads... I don't think I've had or prepared them cook. Need to go to my mental archives! Any anything with coconut sauce is a winner! i hate to say that, but it's true!

Unknown said...

What is the chunky ingredient shown in the dipping sauce?