Thursday, February 12, 2009

Strawberry and Hearts-of-Palm Salad w Dijon Vinaigrette

I like the various textures and subtle flavors of this salad, not to mention it's pretty. The hearts of palm and fennel lend a change in flavor from the every day dinner salad. If you're not familiar with hearts of palm, they are actually the interior "heart" of domesticated palm trees. Think of it like the bamboo shoots in your favorite Chinese stir-fry. I've always found hearts of palm marinated in jars, which gives them a tangy flavor to compliment their somewhat sweet woodiness.

Hearts of palm are very low in cholesterol and a good source of Protein, Riboflavin and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Copper and Manganese. Unfortunately, the jarred, marinated versions are kind of high in sodium so keep that in mind as you look at your daily salt intake.

This will make a fairly large salad, but as long as you don’t dress it, you can keep it refrigerated for a couple of days so it’s great for planning to eat tonight for dinner and tomorrow with lunch. Hearts of palm photo:

1 head Bibb lettuce, torn
1 cup hearts of palm, sliced into rounds
1 cup strawberries, sliced
½ red bell pepper, sliced
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
½ fennel bulb, thinly sliced

1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, minced
2 Tbsp White wine vinegar, plus more for marinating fennel
½ cup Extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp Flax seed oil
Freshly cracked pepper

In a large bowl, compose the salad ingredients except for the fennel.

Place the fennel into a separate bowl, season with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with white wine vinegar (maybe 1-2 Tbsp). Allow to sit for 10 minutes or until the fennel begins to wilt a bit. Strain off any excess liquid into a medium sized mixing bowl and transfer the fennel to the rest of the salad.

In the mixing bowl with the fennel liquid add the Dijon mustard, shallot, 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar salt and pepper. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of flax seed oil and ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil.

Just prior to serving, drizzle vinaigrette over the salad (you may very well not need to use all of it, so refrigerate the remainder for a future salad). Toss the salad and serve immediately.