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The palm

April 30, 2008

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Serves 4

Hearts of palm are the edible inner part of the stem of certain palm trees. The smooth white stalks, which are canned, have a flavor similar to artichokes. This is Eric Bogardus's version of a salad he ate last summer in Costa Rica.

DRESSING

1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Juice of 1 lemon (2 to 3 tablespoons)
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Pepper, to taste
1. In a bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, shallot, garlic, salt, and pepper until the mixture is thoroughly blended. Taste for seasoning; add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice.

2. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

SALAD

2 hearts of romaine lettuce, cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick strips
6 hearts of palm, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Divide the romaine leaves among 4 large salad plates. Arrange the hearts of palm, red onion, olives, and avocado slices on top.

2. Sprinkle the salad with salt and pepper. Drizzle with the buttermilk dressing. Adapted from Citrio Catering & Provisions Co.