Sunday, August 2, 2009

Asparagus Salad Brazilian with Hearts of Palm, Grape Tomatoes and Red Onion Slivers


Asparagus with hearts of palm, grape tomatoes and slivers of red onion tossed in a lemony olive oil vinaigrette is one of our favorite salads. It’s easily put together in fifteen minutes or less and is very colorful on the plate.

Asparagus is one of the few vegetables where fat is better than thin.
Look for straight, fresh looking, bright green stalks with compact tips. Asparagus is usually sold in bundles. When choosing a bundle, I first look at the tips for freshness, avoiding those with tips that are open, and then I turn the bundle over and look at the bottom of the stalks. If the bottoms look old and dry like a stick, don’t buy that bundle. Asparagus continues to age and toughen after it’s been harvested, so the sooner you cook it the better.

Hearts of palm are vegetables harvested from the soft core of a palm tree and imported from Latin American countries such as Brazil and Puerto Rico and are sold in cans or jars in the vegetable aisle of the supermarket. They are ivory-colored with a firm texture. Their flavor is delicate and some say is similar to an artichoke.

To prepare the asparagus for cooking, snap off the tough ends as far down on the stems as they will snap off cleanly and discard. If stalks are thick, peel the lower portions with a potato peeler up to the tender part just below the tips.

Asparagus Salad Brazilian with Hearts of Palm, Grape Tomatoes and Red Onion Slivers
Serves 4

1 ½ pounds fresh asparagus, prepared for cooking as described above
Beef broth
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 finely chopped shallot
Dash Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Dried tarragon to taste
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
6 to 8 slices of hearts of palm, sliced into ¼” coins
½ pint of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
One small red onion, thinly sliced into slivers

Lay asparagus down in a skillet that can hold them without crowding. Add equal parts water and beef broth to cover the spears, season with salt, cover the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as the water boils, remove lid and simmer on low about four minutes or cooked until the thick part of the stem can be pierced with a knife. Remove asparagus with a spatula onto a clean kitchen towel and roll gently to remove the water. Serve immediately or plunge the spears into an ice water bath to preserve their color.

For the vinaigrette, put the lemon juice, olive oil, chopped shallot, a dash of Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce and a good pinch of dried tarragon in jar with a tight fitting lid and shake well until blended.

Slice the asparagus in half and put in a bowl. Add the hearts of palm coins, the tomatoes and onion slivers, and toss gently with just enough vinaigrette to moisten. You may have some vinaigrette left over, in which case it can be stored in the covered jar in the refrigerator for several days. Season the salad with salt and freshly ground black pepper and let it marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.


39 comments:

  1. Great great salad and so pretty, too. That is one fabulous vinaigrette that could go on any combo of vegetables and kick it up. Have to copy this down.

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  2. What a lovely salad. I like that you've poached the asparagus in beef broth...must add a delicious undertone that makes one wonder where that 'delightful flavor' is coming from! And thanks for the great tips on choosing asparagus. (and for your kind words, Sam) :D

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  3. Sounds terrific. The beef broth trick is a new one to me -- I'll have to try it!

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  4. I love asparagus, and wish my hubby did too. His mom used to make him asparagus and egg sandwiches for his school lunches, which he hated. He traded them for kielbasa with a Polish classmate. He continues to hate asparagus to this day. I do make it for myself, though, and one of my fave combos is grilled asparagus and red peppers in a cold salad with a lemon vinaigrette. I must try your salad to branch out.

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  5. I generally prefer fat asparagus! The exception being grilling. I prefer thin asparagus in that case. GREG

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  6. what a sensational summer salad - I buy fat asparagus but peel them down a bit and use the peelings to make a broth....

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  7. What a terrific summer salad! Asparagus is just about my favorite veggie on the planet. :P

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  8. I am sitting here shaking it is so cold....I wonder if I can have my salad warm???

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  9. That salad looks so colourful. I love reading about your ingredients, a lot of which I have never heard of or tried.
    Blessings, Star

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  10. I wish I liked hearts of palm - this looks delicious!

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  11. What a colorful salad! You know, I don't think that I've ever had hearts of palm!

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  12. What a delicious and colorful asparagus salad! I love the addition of hearts of palm here!

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  13. great salad and good tips on buying asparagus your right it doesn't last all that long

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  14. That salad looks wonderful - so colorful and crisp. I will have to share this recipe with my mom - she loves asparagus.

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  15. I love anything with hearts of palm. I like to include it in salads like you did. Nice dish.

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  16. I love these fresh summer salads - I had I pile of fresh and raw vegetables with dressing for lunch yesterday and it was the perfect summer meal!

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  17. This sounds like a good meal to me! I wanted to visit the Brazilian restaurant we love in Dallas when I was there, and just for the salad bar...all you can eat hearts of palm and artichokes...thought I was in heaven thirteen years ago when I came upon that one :)

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  18. Your salad has spectacular color, Sam. I love the combining of hearts of palm with the asparagus. I suspect this tastes every bit as good as it looks.

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  19. Sam,
    This salad of asparagus, grape tomatoes, and red onion silver sounds terrific. I think I'll try it for my sister who's visiting this week. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Thank you also for visiting my blog.

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  20. The vinaigrette sounds delicious! A perfectly fresh salad with everything I enjoy. I definitely would love to give this a try.

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  21. Thanks for the asparagus tip! I'd always thought thin was better for some reason!

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  22. Wonderful salad -- I'm having company next month from Rio -- I may just serve them this salad!

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  23. I love asparagus. In fact I love everything in this salad! I have added this to my recipe file..

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  24. What an excellent & summery looking salad, Sam!

    Great colours too!I love asparagus! Helas, the season is over in Belgium!

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  25. Those are great tips on the asparagus. And I've never had hearts of palm - and until you told me didn't exactly know what they were - but I thought they looked like artichoke!

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  26. Beautiful salad Sam. Love the vinaigrette too. Will definitely make this.

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  27. This salad looks fresh and inviting, but the asparagus season is over, so I'll have to wait until next spring brings asparagus to the markets. I'll have to indulge in buying heart of palms, which I love but have not had for many years (carbon print concerns ..)

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  28. Your salad looks so lovely. I adore hearts of palm, and do not use it often enough. Your viniagrette sounds mighty tasty.

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  29. What a sensational summer salad Sam. I love the addition of the Hearts of Palm. I just don't use them enough.

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  30. Sam, as always, this recipe is a treasure! Cheers--Kay

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  31. Delicious - I love asparagus and hearts of palm maybe it would be good with artichoke too...Enjoy your weekend, xv.

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  32. Sam,
    I love asparagus. That salad sounds delicious. Thank you for sharing it with us. It's always a joy to visit your blog and view your beautiful photos and great recipes.

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  33. I love, love, love asparagus. Can't wait to try this beautiful healthy salad.

    Asparagus is currently being touted as a prevention and/or cure for cancer. A good serving or more every day is supposed to do the trick. It is also good for bladder infections. Whit recipes like this, no problem.

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  34. This is the perfect salad for me. What a colorful plate. I can never get enough of Hearts of Palm. Have a great week-end :)

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  35. I have yet to find an asparagus recipe that I don't like. I'm a huge fan of asparagus-- especially roasted. I keep forgetting to use hearts of palm! Thanks for the inspiration.

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  36. Nice salad...heart of palm...I just love it, we used to eat so often back in Brazil.

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  37. You know how much my husband and I love your Asparagus Goldenrod, so another recipe with asparagus is a must try! Hearts of palm are so delicious but I've never thought to use them in place of artichokes; I'll definitely keep this in mind!

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Sam