By adding this simple and delicious Palmito Guisado recipe (Stewed Heart of Palm) we want to do more than just share how tasty it is, we want you to help our national tree.
Well-informed nature lovers will probably be shocked that as self-declared tree-huggers we would share a recipe for Palmito Guisado (Stewed Heart of Palm).
The original recipe calls for the "heart" of the Palma Real, our majestic Dominican national tree. Harvesting it not only it kills the tree, but it also harms the habitat of our national bird, the cigua palmera or palmchat (Dulus dominicus), which is also endemic to the island. But fear not, fellow tree-lovers, no Palmas Reales were harmed in the making of this dish, and better yet, we have a good reason for posting this recipe. Read on.
By adding this recipe we'd like to tell you that you can enjoy this dish without harvesting Palma Real (Roystonea hispaniolana Bailey). There are alternatives! In fact, the heart of other edible species of palm trees can be harvested over and over again as it regrows, and you can choose those instead. These are fast-growing species that are grown commercially. Just make sure to buy from the supermarket (never from street vendors!), and that it comes from reputable sources.
I'll hazard a guess that most people who buy illegally-harvested heart of palm in the Dominican Republic have no idea of the harm that harvesting it does to the Palma Real tree. But now you know, and you can help by spreading the word.
Let's protect our national tree.
Palmito Guisado Recipe (Stewed Heart of Palm)
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 large purple onion thinly sliced
- 1 large green bell pepper thinly sliced
- 4 plum tomatoes , cubed
- 1/2 tablespoon of crushed garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon of fruit vinegar
- 1 doz olives
- 2 lb [0.9 kg] of pre-cooked heart of palm cut into slices
- 2 cups of water
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper (or more, to taste)
- 1 teaspoon of salt (or more, to taste)
- Heat a tablespoon of oil over low heat in a large skillet.
- Cook and stir the onions until they turn translucent. Add the pepper, tomatoes, garlic, vinegar and olives. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through. Add the heart of palm, water. Simmer uncovered until the liquid has reduced to half.
- Season with pepper and salt to taste.