What we don’t realize is that a lot of time the flavor of our favorite protein comes from the seasoning. For example the distinctive sausage flavor comes from spices such as sage, fennel seed and marjoram. You can impart those flavors into mushrooms, tofu or any veggies. In this recipe I manipulated the flavor of the heart of palms by soaking them in a mixture of seaweed, kelp, and vegetable broth. The flavor of the seaweed really imparted itself into the heart of palm making it tastes similar to seafood.
SERVES 2 TO 4 total time: 35 MINUTES
4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
1/2 cup of plain almond milk
1 cup quick-cooking grits
8 ounces daiya chives and onions cream cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted vegan butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 ears grilled sweet corn, cut from the cob
2 tablespoons freshly snipped chives
1 pound marinated heart of palm (seaweed or kelp will give it a seafood flavor)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup baby heirloom tomatoes sliced in half
1/2 sweet onion diced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
Bring the stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once boiling, add the grits and whisk
constantly until they are fully mixed into the stock, about a minute or two. Reduce the
heat to low and cover, stirring once or twice more, until the grits are thicker and creamy,
about 5 minutes. Stir in the vegan cheese, almond milk, salt and pepper. Taste and
season more if desired – this will depend on the salt in your stock.
Pat the heart of palm dry with paper towels once you removed the from the marinaded.
Once it’s dry, season it with the salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder and cumin. Heat a
large skillet over medium-high heat and add the vegan butter. Once it’s melted and
begins to sizzle, add the heart of palm in batches and cook on both sides until seared
brown. The butter will start to brown as you cook. You can whisk it occasionally and add
olive oil to prevent it from burning. After you’ve cook all your heart of palm, remove them
from the pan and stir in the onion, tomatoes, herbs and then garlic. Sauté until onions
are translucent and the tomatoes have released some of their juices.
To serve the grits, spoon them into a bowl and add the tomatoes mixture and then top
with the seared heat of palms. I like to drizzle any of the pan sauce in the pan on top
too. Cover with spoonfuls of grilled corn and a sprinkling of chives. Eat immediately.