Hearts of palm are magic: if it’s a faux-fishy texture you’re after, use it to make vegan tuna salad. If you’re looking for a faux-crabby quality, use it to make vegan crab cakes. But if you want something reminiscent of flaky white fish, use it to make these beer-battered faux fillets.
This decadent and heavy dish is paired with the clean flavors of dill and cabbage, while the sharp tang of the quick pickles helps cut and balance out the richness. I used watermelon radishes because I love the pattern created by their vivid pink spokes, but you can also use cucumber, cauliflower, turnips, onions or zucchini here.
Or serve with panisse fries for a fish and chips-type dish.
BEER-BATTERED HEARTS OF PALM WITH DILL SLAW AND QUICK PICKLES
Yield 2 servings
for the pickles
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp dried dill
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- 1 tsp cumin seed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup of sliced watermelon radish pickles, cut on a mandoline (about 2 radishes)
- 2 carrots, sliced on a mandoline
- sesame seeds, for serving (optional)
for the slaw
- 2 cups chopped cabbage
- 4-5 TB chopped fresh dill
- 1 TB vegan mayo, or more to taste
- 1 TB reserved pickle liquid (or more to taste)
for the hearts of palm fish
- 3/4 cup flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup beer (use a strong IPA for best results)
- 14 oz. can of hearts of palm, whole
grapeseed or vegetable oil, for frying
First prepare the pickles a few hours or the night before.
- Combine the water, vinegar, sugar and spices in a small saucepan and bring to a small boil. Place the radish and carrots into a bowl. Pour the hot liquid over the vegetables and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover and place the pickles into the refrigerator to chill.
To make the slaw
- Combine the cabbage and dill in a medium-sized bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the vegan mayo and reserved pickle liquid. Just before serving, dress the slaw. Once you dress it, it will get soggy after a few hours, so keep them separate as needed.
Once you are ready to prepare the faux fish, follow the steps below:
To prepare the batter
- Place the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt into a medium-sized bowl. Combine, then slowly pour in the beer. Gently stir until just combined, do not overmix. Set aside for 20 minutes.
To prepare the hearts of palm
- Cut each piece diagonally down the middle to create two long triangular pieces.
- When you are ready to fry, place several inches of grapeseed or vegetable oil into a small heavy pot*. Heat over medium-high heat for about 7 minutes, or until it reaches 350 degrees. Carefully drop in a little bit of the batter. If it sizzles immediately, you are ready to fry.
- Working in batches of two, lightly dust the hearts of palm with some of the flour. gently drag the hearts of palm through the batter until well coated. The batter will be a little goopy.
- Fry until golden brown, just a few minutes, flipping it over once to ensure even cooking. Transfer to a papertowel to drain while you fry the rest of the pieces.
- Serve immediately with the dill slaw and quick pickles. Spoon some of the reserved pickle juice in a small bowl to dip the faux fish into, or serve with malt vinegar or vegan tartar sauce.
* I recommend using a 2-quart cast iron Lodge pot for deep-frying. It’s heavy and helps maintain a good temp for frying.