Shari Darling
February 5, 2014 | The Sophisticated Wino | Shari Darling

A little tropical warmth on an icy day:

Pairing Riesling with Hearts of Palm, Mango and Lime Salad

In this cold weather with abundance of snow, it's fun to taste a little bit of tropical warmth and sunshine. Ontario Riesling is the ideal wine for creating such an experience. It has lots of steel-like acidity to clean the palate, all the while offering aromas and flavours reminiscent of grapefruit, peach, pineapple and tangerine on the nose and palate. It's sunshine in a glass. And hearts of palm is the perfect ingredient to add to dishes and salads that are paired with Riesling. Hearts of palm is firm and tender, but subtle in taste, making it an ideal texture-forward ingredient for refreshing salads.

Hearts of palm comes from the interior of palm trees. The heart is bright white and tender and  lies beneath the 5th layer of trunk within the tree. Today, this vegetable is farmed in Costa Rica and Hawaii within the USA. It also grows wildly throughout Brazil and so is a staple in the Brazilian diet.

An alternative to wild hearts of palm is a domesticated farm species called peach palm. Peach palm is the most widely harvested for canning. It is a multi-stem variety that grows as many as 40 stems per plant. Due to all the stems, harvesting in moderation does not kill the tree.

Hearts of palm is hand-harvested and takes extensive time to undertake because of the many layers of bark that must be removed to get to the tender heart. For this reason it is considered a delicacy. It is also nutritious, a carbohydrate with some protein and fibre and high in calcium and vitamin C. It adds such wonderful texture to dishes but is subtle in taste and so will let the other flavours within a dish take centre stage. It's the contribution of texture to a dish.  

This ingredient is mostly used in salads, but can also be incorporated into dips and sandwiches, pastas and risottos. Massa ao Molho deFrango e Palmito, known in English as Pasta with Chicken and Palm Hearts, is a Brazilian classic featuring this ingredient. Hearts of palm can be used has an affinity with ingredients like artichokes, avocados, tomatoes, chicken, shrimp, to name a few.

This salad sings with the tropical flavours of mango and lime, a wonderful interlude to our winter blues.

Here is the recipe:

1/4 cup of fresh lime juice
4 tsp Dijon mustard
1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 can (14.5 oz) hearts of palm, drained, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
Kosher salt as needed
Freshly ground black pepper as needed
2 heaping tablespoons of finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 head Boston lettuce, washed and dried

In a bowl whisk together the lime juice and mustard. Set vinaigrette aside. In another bowl combine mango, onion, hearts of palm and half vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide lettuce among 4 plates. Top with mango mixture. Drizzle remaining dressing. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.

Suggested Wines: This salad has refreshing tanginess from the lime vinaigrette. Normally a crisp, white wine would be the idea companion to match this lime tanginess. However, because the mango is sweet, the salad requires an off dry white with tanginess and sweetness to match. Choose one of the following from

Discover how easy it is to pair the right wine with a dish in Harmony On The Palate e-Cookbook.  


Shari darling


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