This salad, with delicate hearts of palm, crunchy hazelnuts and a bright and punchy Champagne vinaigrette will surely steal your heart.
Do you ever find yourself in a salad rut? Or maybe you're just a die-hard green salad person? It's time to up your salad game, people! This fantastic salad has just three basic components: crunchy and toasty hazelnuts, tender hearts of palm, and a killer vinaigrette.
WHAT THE HECK IS A HEART OF PALM, ANYWAY??
Canned hearts of palm are one of my favorite weapons for healthy cooking. They come from the inner core of palm trees and resemble thick little white batons. Because they're naturally low in carbs and fat, they have very few calories. Their mild, slightly nutty flavor is reminiscent of artichokes. For the purposes of this salad, all you have to do is drain them from the can and slice them lengthwise.
A QUICK BREAK FOR HAZELNUTS!
I just love hazelnuts (aka filberts), with their mellow, almost sweet flavor. But hold up! You don't want to eat them raw. As with almost ANY nut, toasting brings out the amazing flavor and aroma of the nut, plus it makes them nice and crunchy. Trust me. If you compare an untoasted nut with a toasted one, you will never again eat a raw nut.
Hazelnuts are unique because they have a thick dark skin that's edible but slightly unpleasant to eat. To remove the skin, toast the nuts until they're fragrant and a bit wrinkled. Cool slightly on a clean kitchen towel, then rub the nuts in the towel until the skins come off. Then use the bottom of a glass to crush the nuts (you can also chop them on a cutting board) but be sure to discard all the skins before you start crushing. A little sidenote here: if you don't like hazelnuts, toasted almonds, walnuts or pecans would be super tasty too!
This is my go-to technique for toasting and skinning hazelnuts, but I have been known to also skin them with a baking/cooling rack!
This is a classic composed salad, which means it doesn't get tossed with the dressing. Instead, the salad ingredients are arranged on the plate and then the vinaigrette is drizzled over. So it might sound fancy to call for a composed salad, but as you now know, it's so easy! To maximize the flavor here, I drizzle the vinaigrette all over the hearts of palm, then let it sit for about 30 minutes. The final flourish? Sprinkle with those crunchy toasted hazelnuts and fresh chopped parsley just before serving. I'm going to take a gander that this becomes your non-leafy-green go-to salad!
Another one of my favorite composed salads is my Krab, Avocado & Grapefruit Salad!
By the way, I love to use this vinaigrette for all kinds of salads. It's wildly versatile! I often make a double or triple batch and keep it in the fridge for my everyday salad uses. It'll keep for up to a week in an airtight container.
Hearts of Palm in Vinaigrette
- ⅓ cup raw hazelnuts
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup Champagne or prosecco vinegar
- 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 (15-ounce) cans whole hearts of palm, drained and sliced in half lengthwise
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the skins wrinkle and the nuts are fragrant. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a clean kitchen towel. Fold the towel over itself and rub the nuts together to remove most of the skins. Discard the skins and finely chop the nuts.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the olive oil with the vinegar, both mustards, the oregano, shallot and garlic. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
- Arrange the hearts of palm cut side up in a baking dish or on a rimmed platter. Spoon the vinaigrette on top and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Sprinkle some of the hazelnuts and parsley on top. Serve, passing more hazelnuts and parsley at the table.