Kid-friendly Luscious "Lobster" Rolls with Hearts of Palm + Zesty Lemon Crush Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Luscious "Lobster" Rolls with Hearts of Palm + Zesty Lemon Crush

Family Meal Plan: Luscious "Lobster" Rolls with Hearts of Palm + Zesty Lemon Crush

Luscious "Lobster" Rolls with Hearts of Palm + Zesty Lemon Crush

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Dylan Sabuco
prep time
10 minutes
cook time
10 minutes
makes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Luscious "Lobster" Rolls with Hearts of Palm

Sometimes lobster is just out of reach, whether it's due to location or it's just not in the budget. That's exactly why we decided to put a spin on the classic New England-style "Lobstah Roll." By using hearts of palm, we've managed to capture that satisfying texture and the spirit of the ocean without the traditional lobster. Tucked inside a toasted, buttery bun and seasoned just right, this dish is a nod to time-honored coastal flavors. It's our way of bringing a piece of New England's culinary magic into homes everywhere, no ocean required. Serve with Zesty Lemon Crush for maximum seaside effect!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief
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Shopping List

  • FRESH
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 3 lemons
  • DAIRY
  • 1 stick (1/2 C) butter **(see allergy subs below)**
  • PANTRY
  • 1 14-oz can whole hearts of palm
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning OR paprika **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/3 C mayonnaise **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 6 or 7 hot dog buns **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • HAVE ON HAND
  • 3 C ice
  • 5 C water

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • blend :

    to stir together two or more ingredients until just combined; blending is a gentler process than mixing.

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • juice :

    to extract or squeeze out the juice of a fruit or vegetable, like a lemon, orange, or carrot, often cutting open or peeling the fruit or veggie first to access its flesh.

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • poach :

    to gently cook a food, like fish or an egg (without its shell), submerged in simmering (not boiling) liquid.

  • shred :

    to reduce food into small shreds or strips (similar to grate).

  • simmer :

    to cook a food gently, usually in a liquid, until softened.

  • zest :

    to scrape off the outer colored part of a citrus fruit's rind (skin or peel) using a metal tool with small sharp blades, such as a zester, microplane, or the small holes of a grater (avoid the "pith," the white, spongy lining of the rind that can be bitter).

Equipment Checklist

  • Blender (or pitcher + immersion blender)
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Cutting board
  • Kid-safe knife
  • Zester (or grater with small zesting plate/side)
  • Medium pot
  • Can opener
  • Measuring spoons
  • Citrus squeezer (optional)
  • Wooden spoon
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Forks (2) for shredding
  • Skillet for toasting hot dog buns (optional)
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Ingredients

Luscious "Lobster" Rolls with Hearts of Palm

  • 1 14-oz can whole hearts of palm
  • 2 C water
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 stick (1/2 C) butter **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub 1/2 C dairy-free/nut-free butter, like Earth Balance)**
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 2 green onions
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning OR paprika **(for NIGHTSHADE ALLERGY sub onion powder)**
  • 1/3 C mayonnaise **(for EGG ALLERGY sub vegan mayonnaise)**
  • 6 or 7 hot dog buns, cut in half **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free buns)**

Zesty Lemon Crush

  • 3 C ice
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 3 C cold water
  • 2 lemons

Food Allergen Substitutions

Luscious "Lobster" Rolls with Hearts of Palm

  • Dairy: For 1 stick (1/2 C) of butter, substitute 1/2 C dairy-free/nut-free butter, like Earth Balance. 
  • Nightshade: Substitute onion powder for Old Bay Seasoning or paprika.
  • Egg: Substitute vegan mayonnaise.
  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free/nut-free buns for hot dog buns.

Instructions

Luscious "Lobster" Rolls with Hearts of Palm

1.
intro

The lobster roll is a New England classic. Fresh lobster was poached in butter, tossed in a lemony mayo, and served on a toasted buttery bun, and the rest was history. Lobster is a delicacy and is generally expensive. Our Sticky Fingers Cooking spin on this classic dish makes it much more affordable and keeps the same flavors and textures as the original. This recipe replaces lobster with hearts of palm. This veggie can be poached and shredded in a similar fashion to lobster. Old Bay Seasoning will provide a little extra color and flavor. Hopefully, this sandwich satisfies your craving for the classic lobster roll with this "everyday" alternative.

2.
slice + measure

Start by opening and draining 1 can of hearts of palm and pouring them into a medium pot. Then, measure 2 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 stick butter and add them to the pot. Finally, slice 1 lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the pot (for added lemon flavor you can also place the lemon halves into the pot).

3.
simmer + poach

Time to poach! Turn the heat under the pot to medium and simmer the hearts of palm mixture. Continue to simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until the hearts of palm are soft and fork tender. Remove the hearts of palm and 1/4 cup of the poaching liquid and place in a bowl for later. Discard the rest of the poaching liquid (skim any floating butter from the top of the poaching liquid and discard in the trash; do not pour butter down the sink).

4.
scrumptious science

The previous step might have you asking yourself: What is the difference between boiling and poaching? The answer is just a difference in temperature, and only by a few degrees at that. The boiling point of water is 212 F. When water molecules reach this temperature, they have had so much energy transferred to them that they start moving quickly around (this is called a rolling boil), which we can observe with our naked eye. Poaching happens at a much lower temperature of roughly 140 to 190 F. This form of cooking is gentle with no rolling bubbles. Without reaching boiling point, the water will have much less energy transferred to it and will be a more gentle environment to cook the food you are poaching. In short, boiling is a harsher cooking method characterized by rolling bubbles, and poaching involves gentle simmering.

5.
shred + chop + toss

Shred the hearts of palm with 2 forks or clean hands. Make sure the hearts of palm are completely pulled apart and resemble braised meat. Next, chop 1 celery stalk and 2 green onions and add them to the hearts of palm mixture. Toss the mixture with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning, and 1/3 cup mayonnaise.

6.
build + toast + serve

Cut 6 or 7 hot dog buns in half. If you would like, you can quickly toast your buns in a skillet over high heat for about 30 seconds or until each bun is lightly browned. Then, place roughly 2 to 3 tablespoons of the hearts of palm mixture on the buns. Dig in and enjoy!

Zesty Lemon Crush

1.
measure + zest

Measure 3 cups ice, 1/2 cup sugar, and 3 cups cold water into a blender. Then, wash 2 lemons and zest the yellow peel (not the bitter "pith" or white part) into the blender.

2.
juice + blend

Slice the lemons in half after zesting. Then, squeeze the juice into the blender. Blend until almost smooth. Some chunks of ice are okay. Pour into cups and enjoy! Cheers!

Surprise Ingredient: Heart of Palm!

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Photo by diogoppr/Shutterstock.com

Hi! I'm a Heart of Palm!

"I'm the edible bud in the inner core or heart of certain varieties of palm tree! You may have seen me in cans and jars in the grocery store. I often find my way into salads and vegan dishes, replacing the seafood and other meat, like the lobster in lobster rolls! If you've never tried me before, you may just decide you 'heart' (love) me!"

History & Etymology

  • Palm trees are native to tropical and subtropical Central and South America and South and Southeast Asia. The cultivation and culinary use of the heart of palm goes back to at least pre-Columbian times, thousands of years ago, in Central and South America. It is also traditional in Southeast Asian culture. 
  • In Florida, where cabbage or sabal palmetto palms are the official state tree and hearts of palm have been harvested from native trees, they call the vegetable "palm cabbage" or "palmetto." In Central and South America, they use the name "palmito," and in the Philippines, it is called "ubod."
  • Conservation programs have halted most of the harvesting in Florida. Canned hearts of palm sold in the United States now come from Central and South American countries such as Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Peru. 
  • The English word "palm" comes from the Middle English "paume," from Old English, from the Latin "palma," or "palm (of a hand)," because the palm tree leaf is like a spread hand. 

Anatomy

  • Some of the palm trees that produce edible hearts of palm include the açaí, coconut, juçara, palmetto (sabal), and peach (or pupunha) palms. Not all palm trees have edible hearts of palm; some are bitter or even toxic. 
  • There are palm trees that produce multiple stems and are sustainably harvested, so they continue to produce stems. Other palms, like the palmetto, only have one stem, so harvesting their hearts of palm destroys those trees. 
  • Heart of palm has a mild flavor, similar to artichoke, chestnut, or white asparagus. It has a hearty texture and is sometimes used as a meat substitute. It is crunchy but tender and can be cut easily. 

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • Most people buy their hearts of palm in cans or jars, pickled in brine. This is because fresh heart of palm is highly perishable.
  • Gluten-free pastas made from puréed heart of palm, like spaghetti and lasagna, are also available for purchase.
  • You can eat the innermost core of the fresh vegetable raw after removing the outer layer, although it spoils quickly. The taste and texture is similar to jicama.
  • Heart of palm goes well in a salad. It can replace or accompany other firm vegetables in a soup or stew. You can purée it to create a dip, spread, or gluten-free pasta. Or, try grilling or sautéing it by itself or with other veggies or meats.

Nutrition

  • Heart of palm is rich in potassium and vitamin B6 and low in fat and sugar. It is a good source of protein, fiber, iron, zinc, copper, and manganese. It also contains some vitamins A and C.
  • Heart of palm has all nine essential amino acids, necessary for many bodily functions. Potassium is needed for healthy hearts, and vitamin B6 helps our brains to function. Fiber is good for our digestion. 
  • Fresh hearts of palm do not have much natural sodium, but since they are pickled in salt water (brine) for the canned and jarred versions, you may want to rinse them before eating if you are avoiding salt.

History of the Lobster Roll!

Photo by jenlo8/Shutterstock.com (at a waterfront harbor in Maine)
  • What is a lobster roll, you ask? Is it a gymnastics move performed by a lobster? Or is it a lobster without its shell that has been rolled up? Actually, it's a sandwich! The roll is a grilled New England-style bun, similar to a hotdog bun. The lobster's flesh is cooked, then chopped or shredded, and mixed with butter or mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper before being put on the bun. Chopped celery and green onions can be added for extra flavor and crunch. 
  • Lobster rolls are often served with potato chips or french fries and coleslaw and are a hit with tourists to New England and Atlantic Canadian provinces.
  • The lobster roll originated in the United States in Milford, Connecticut, according to John Mariani's Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink. Perry's restaurant is said to have created the dish in the 1920s. 
  • Lobster rolls are popular in many parts of New England, including Massachusetts and Long Island, New York, but they are often associated with Maine. They are also found in the Atlantic provinces of Canada. Wherever there is lobster fishing off the Atlantic coast, you may find lobster rolls.

Let's Learn About New England!

Photo by Leena Robinson/Shutterstock.com (Camden harbor, Maine)
  • The New England region is in the Northeastern United States. It includes the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The Atlantic Ocean borders New England on the east. 
  • Indigenous peoples who spoke variations of the Algonquian language were the first to inhabit the region. John Smith, the English explorer, named the region "New England" in 1616. The area was colonized by people, especially Puritans, coming from England in ships, like the Mayflower, beginning in 1620. These early settlements were called the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies. 
  • Southern New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island) has more people than northern New England (Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont).
  • Massachusetts has the largest population in New England, and Boston, the capital of Massachusetts, is the largest city and metropolis. Vermont is the least populated.
  • There are several distinct accents and dialects, especially the Boston accent. It may have come from certain British English accents that dropped a final "R" in a word and had a broad "A" sound.
  • The New England states are popular with tourists who take autumn "leaf peeping" drives to view the vibrant colors of the the abundant foliage.
  • Candlepin bowling is a popular pastime in New England. The pins are tall, thin, and shaped like a candle, and the bowling balls are small, at 4.5 inches in diameter. The bowling balls are also lighter than the candlepins, different from ten-pin bowling.
  • New England culture and cuisine have been influenced by the indigenous Algonquian-speaking peoples, the Acadians, an ethnic group of French descendants, and the early Puritans. Later immigrants, including those from Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Quebec, have also had an impact. 
  • Many early colonists were involved with maritime activities, such as fishing and whaling, and seafood significantly contributed to the culture, cuisine, and economy. 
  • New Englanders have a few different names for familiar foods. For example, they may call sub sandwiches "grinders" and milkshakes "frappes."
  • Some of the regional food favorites are baked beans (like Boston baked beans), New England clam chowder, cranberries, hasty or Indian pudding (made with cornmeal), lobster rolls, Parker House rolls (bread rolls invented at Boston's Parker House Hotel), and New England boiled dinner (corned beef with cabbage and other root vegetables).

The Yolk's On You

What did the lemon say to the cake? 

"Sour you doing?"

That's Berry Funny

Why did the lemon stop halfway across the road? 

He ran out of juice!

THYME for a Laugh

What did the other crustaceans say to the lobster?

"You’re on a roll!"

The Yolk's On You

What do you give an injured lemon?

Lemon-aid!

The Yolk's On You

What did one palm tree say to another?

"You've got my heart in your palm!"

THYME for a Laugh

Why did the lemon have no friends? 

Because she was a sour-puss!

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