Sheath-Steamed Palm Heart with Lemon Butter

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini

By Elizabeth Schneider

Published 2001

  • About

Steam Hawaiian palm heart “marrow” in the “bone” for spectacular simplicity. Supple, sweet, and juicy, it suggests a blend of Brazil nuts and asparagus. The natural casing, once cooked, is easily trimmed to form glossy ivory containers in which to serve the sliced rounds of palm heart. Although stems vary in size and weight, about 20 inches long and 2 pounds is typical.


  • 1 Hawaiian palm heart in its sheath (about 2 pounds)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • tablespoons butter


    1. With heavy knife or cleaver, cut stem into 5 equal lengths (if any of them split, bandage with plastic wrap to re-form). Set lengths on steamer rack over boiling water. Cover and steam until the heart is just easily pierced and juicy, about 10 minutes. (Or set spoke-fashion on wide plate on the carousel in a microwave oven. Cook until core is juicy, bubbling, and slightly tender—begin testing at 5 minutes.)
    2. When cool enough to handle, slit each casing lengthwise and remove the heart. Cut another lengthwise slit in each tube to remove a portion and form a sled or basket. Cut each length of palm heart into ¼-inch discs and arrange overlapping in its sled.
    3. Stir together salt and 1½ tablespoons lemon juice. Microwave butter in small dish to barely melt. Whisk in juice mixture with fork. Add more juice to taste. Spoon evenly over the sliced hearts.


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