Hearts of Palm Parm

Our Chopped Dinner Challenge this week was hearts of palm. Instead of adding it to a salad, we paired it with a hearty, savory tomato sauce[, where it took on pasta's best characteristics. Chopped Basket Ingredient: hearts of palm]

Total Time:
1 hr
Prep:
10 min
Inactive:
5 min
Cook:
45 min

Yield:
6 servings
Level:
Easy

Ingredients
  • Three 14-ounce cans whole hearts of palm, drained
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, 1/4-inch dice
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce, optional
  • 1 1/4 cups finely grated Parmesan (about 3 ounces)
  • Hand-torn fresh basil leaves, for garnish
  • 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking polenta, cooked according to the package directions, warm
Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F with a rack set on the middle shelf. Place the hearts of palm onto several layers of paper towels to absorb any excess liquid. Season lightly with salt.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium to medium-high heat until it just starts to shimmer. Sear the hearts of palm until golden brown on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes total. You may need to do this in two batches to avoid crowding the skillet. Transfer to a baking sheet or large plate. Discard the used oil and wipe out the skillet.

Add the remaining oil to the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until softened and lightly browned, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until just softened, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt and fish sauce if using. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Season with additional salt if needed. Carefully pour the sauce into a 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Add the browned hearts of palm to the sauce in a single layer and sprinkle all over with the grated cheese. Bake until the cheese is lightly golden brown, about 10 minutes. Allow to sit at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving. Top with the basil.

To serve, divide the warm polenta among 6 bowls and top with the hearts of palm and tomato sauce.


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