We’re nearing the end of November, and there are 2 final dishes that I have heard a lot about and wanted to try. Tarta de Palmitos (hearts of palm tart) from Argentina, and Postre Chaja – a popular dessert from Uruguay (I’ll post about that one tomorrow).
When I started talking to my Argentinian friends about cooking, we looked through some cookbooks together so that they could point out particularly tasty or traditional recipes. When we came to the page with Tarta de Palmitos recipe, both of my friends exclaimed “Que rico!” with much nostalgia in their voices. I don’t remember ever eating palm hearts, much less cooking with them. So of course, I had to try it!
In this dish, hearts of palm are layered in a creamy leek and onion sauce and baked in a buttery crust, topped with Parmesan cheese. Yes – it’s very rich and creamy, usually served as an appetizer or as an accompaniment to soup or salad, much like quiche is served in the U.S.
Tarta de Palmitos
1 Tbsp. melted butter + 1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 c. thinly sliced leeks
1 1/2 c. thinly sliced Vidalia onion
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 c. whipping cream
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced
14 oz. can hearts of palm, drained
9-inch pie crust
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
Heat the butter and olive oil in a saucepan on medium-low heat. Add leeks and onions and toss around to coat, then cover and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes. Veggies should be cooked and soft, but not browned. Stir in the paprika, salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, mix together the cream, chopped eggs, and cornstarch. Add this mixture to the saucepan and stir it constantly until it thickens up. Remove from heat and set aside. Drain the palm hearts very well, and slice each one into 8 pieces.
Prick the pie crust with a fork all over the bottom, and blind-bake the pie crust for about 10 minutes at 425 degrees. Brush the bottom of the crust with the beaten egg white. Spread half of the cream mixture into the crust, then arrange the hearts of palm over the pie. Top with the rest of the cream mixture and spread evenly. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Let cool briefly and slice, serve warm.
Adapted from: The South American Table, by Maria Baez Kijac