I am in purge mode:  getting rid of old things, de-cluttering and simplifying.  Having space between the hangers in your closet feels like a breath of fresh air.  In the kitchen, purge mode means digging to the back of your cupboards and using up the things that are gathering dust.  In my pantry, one of those things was a can of hearts of palm

Just my luck… Fine Cooking magazine had an entire spread about hearts of palm in their May issue.  What are hearts of palm, you ask? A quick trip to Wikipedia taught me that heart of palm is a vegetable harvested from the inner core and growing bud of certain palm trees.  Heart of palm is also called palm heart, palmito, chonta, burglar’s thigh or swamp cabbage.  Hmmm… is it just me or does that list take a very odd turn near the end?  Heart of palm = swamp cabbage?!   Seems more likely an antithesis.

Whatever you call it, the ol’ burglar’s thigh tastes a bit like artichoke and was delicious in this salad alongside the citrus and oil-cured olives.

Arugula with Hearts of Palm, Grapefruit and Oil-cured Olives
Serves 4

1 large Ruby Red grapefruit
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 Tbs. Champagne vinegar
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 hearts of palm, rinsed, halved lengthwise, and cut on a diagonal into 3/4-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup pitted black oil-cured olives, halved lengthwise
7 oz. arugula (preferably bunched), trimmed (about 5 loosely packed cups)
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Finely grate 1/2 tsp. zest from the grapefruit; set aside. Slice just enough off the top and bottom of the grapefruit to expose the fruit. Stand the grapefruit on one cut end and slice away all of the peel and white pith. Working over a bowl, cut the segments away from the membranes, letting them fall into the bowl. Then, over another bowl, squeeze the membranes to get any remaining juice. Cut each segment into thirds.

In a small bowl, whisk 2 Tbs. of the reserved grapefruit juice and the zest with the oil, vinegar, rosemary, red pepper flakes, 1/4 tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper.In a small bowl, mix the grapefruit segments, hearts of palm, and olives with 2 Tbs. of the dressing.


Toss the arugula and parsley in a large bowl with a generous pinch of salt and 3 Tbs. of the dressing. Divide the arugula among 4 plates, top with the hearts of palm mixture, and drizzle with the remaining dressing, if desired.