Dr. Who Party: Breaded Hearts of Palm & Avocado Dip

In celebration of Vegan MoFo, I’m doing a month of themed dinner party ideas! For the remaining days, I’m doing a Doctor Who theme!

If I’ve learned anything from watching Doctor Who it’s that with the sadness of a goodbye comes the sweetness of a hello.  (And when a guy has two hearts, he knows a thing or two about heartbreak…)  As bummed as I was for David Tennant to be leaving the show after playing the title role for 5 years, Matt Smith won me over with his zest for life and good-natured spirit.  (Although, I still consider David Tennant my Doctor.)

As I mentioned in my last Doctor Who party post, whenever the lead actor is ready to move on for whatever reason and is then replaced with another actor, it’s built into the script that the new Doctor has to figure out who he is with costumes, mannerisms, and sometimes even down to his taste buds.

When Matt Smith started as the Doctor he had his new friend, Amelia, make him a variety of foods to see what his new mouth enjoyed.  While the young girl emptied the contents of her kitchen, he finally landed on the outlandish combination of fish fingers and custard.  As you may have guessed, this vegan blogger has taken some significant liberties with the fish fingers and custard.  No fish were killed in the making of this dish and no custard either.  (Spoilers: there wasn’t any Wicked Witch in the Wicked Witch of the West Smoothie either.  Yep, I used Mock Witch.)

Instead of fish I went for the flaky vegetable, hearts of palm.  Canned or jarred hearts of palm has a flavor and texture that’s similar to jarred artichoke hearts.  Its mild, briny flavor doesn’t taste ocean-y at all, but I prefer it that way!  (If you’re a fan of hearts of palm, you may be interested in trying my hearts of palm ceviche as well!)  I lightly breaded and fried them, so that the hearts of palm itself could be the main flavor.  However, if batter is your bag, I bet this beer batter would be pretty tasty on them.

In place of custard, I whipped up a creamy avocado dip, similar to guacamole.  (I tried doing a more conventional custard first, but I wouldn’t recommend it.  For a minute there, I was worried I might regenerate…)  The salty & crisp hearts of palm have a lovely give in the center and work well with the tangy avocado for a mouthwatering appetizer, perfect for your next Who marathon.

Breaded Hearts of Palm 

Makes about 10 pieces

  • 1 14 ounce can of hearts of palm, drained
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon each dried thyme, dried basil, dried oregano
  • Pinch of salt & pepper
  • ½ cup rice milk (or any other plain non-dairy milk)
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • Canola oil, for shallow frying
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped (Optional garnish)

Pat the hearts of palm dry with a kitchen towel.  Slice each heart of palm in half length-wise.  On a dinner plate, combine all purpose flour, bread crumbs, thyme, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper.  In a medium-sized bowl, mix the rice milk with corn starch until smooth with no lumps.  Before you begin breading the hearts of palm, heat a skillet to a medium heat with a shallow amount of canola oil on the bottom.  (I needed 2-3 Tablespoons.)

While the oil heats, dip each heart of palm piece into the milk mixture and then roll it in the flour & bread crumb mixture.  Set each breaded heart of palm aside on a separate plate.  Once all of the hearts of palm are breaded, cut a small piece off of one and put it into the oil.  If the oil bubbles around it, it’s ready for frying.  Put the hearts of palm into the oil (working in batches, if necessary, so as to not overcrowd).  Fry each side for about two minutes, until browned.  Remove the hearts of palm from the pan and move onto  a separate plate, covered in a kitchen towel or paper towels to sop up any extra oil.

Lightly salt & pepper the hearts of palm, garnish with chopped fresh basil, and serve immediately with avocado dip.  (You’ll likely have extra breading left over. Put it in a freezer bag and keep it in the freezer for future frying needs or in case the Doctor should drop by unannounced.)

Avocado Dip

  • 1 avocado, pitted
  • ½ teaspoon lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • Salt, to taste

Remove the avocado from its peel and put it into a bowl with the remaining ingredients.  Fully mash the avocado mixture with a fork until smooth.  Serve immediately.

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27 thoughts on “Dr. Who Party: Breaded Hearts of Palm & Avocado Dip

  1. I haven’t seen any Dr. Who but I hear good things. Plus, I’m always in when food is involved ;). I like the breaded hearts of palm idea! Sounds really interesting.
    I have a hard time finding even mock witch in these parts…

  2. That’s a pretty smart idea they came up with for the show, if an actor quits, there’s not some awkward moment were there’s someone different playing the same person and they just expect you to ignore it. It’s like the show never has to end, ever!
    I’ve never had hearts of palm, I always imagined it would taste similar to artichoke, I have no idea why, but am I close? Either way, I like your spin on fish sticks with custard (ew!) yours sounds and looks much, much more appetizing :)

    • Yes, it’s a pretty genius character quirk that he regenerates into a new person whenever he “dies.” It’s something you could only get away with in science fiction! It was a concept they created when the show was only a couple of years old in the 60’s. The actor playing the Doctor at the time had an illness that involved the hardening of the arteries and caused memory problems and such. He needed to leave, but since the show was so popular, they needed to come up with an alternative to canceling. It makes it almost like a new show when a different Doctor comes onboard and makes new traveling companions. It creates buzz and energy around the show. There’s risk that the audience won’t gel with the new Doctor and the show will tank, but so far they’ve done a pretty good job with casting. I’ve really liked all three Doctors in the new series, and from the old episodes I’ve watched, they were consistent too. It certainly works better than on soap operas (Young & the Restless comes to mind) when one day an old character suddenly looks totally different!

      I should have mentioned in the post how hearts of palm tastes! I’ll go and add that. But you’re right, jarred hearts of palm tastes similar to jarred artichoke hearts, especially around the stem area of the heart.

  3. I am LOVING the Doctor Who theme this week!! I got attached to Chris Eccleston, but then really fell in love with David Tennant. I’m STILL not 100% on board with Matt Smith, but I know that’s mainly because I fell so hard for DT. :)

    • Yay! I’m glad to find another Doctor Who fan! My viewing experience sounds like it was just like yours! I was so attached to Eccleston, and I didn’t think I could get onboard with Tennant. Then Tennant completely won me over. He’s just so likable! I like Matt Smith a lot, but he still hasn’t surpassed Tennant for me. (Surprisingly, my husband prefers Smith.)

      I’ve been re-watching the new series recently from the 2005 beginning, and it’s strange to see Eccleston again after getting used to these two new doctors. I have to say, I liked him better the first time around. In some episodes, he comes off as a jerk, which I didn’t remember.

  4. As you already know I have not experience the Doctor Who series, but alas I have experienced hearts of palm as a stand-in for fish. I ‘ve made crab cakes from hearts of palm.
    Great recipe Cadry!! I have never tried mockwitch.

  5. I was just thinking about fish sticks recently- I went through a crazy amount when I was kid. I never, in a million years, would have thought to use hearts of palm as a replacement. I think I’m going to try this because Maxwell just informed me that he’s trying to become vegetarian during the week, but he really likes fish (have you ever heard of such a thing? A 12 year old who likes fish???). I wonder if he might find this to be a suitable substitute? If he doesn’t like them, I know I will- they look great! :-)

    • What great news about Maxwell! Good for him! I think you’d like these breaded hearts of palm, but they don’t taste like fish. The only similarity is the flakiness. I purposely didn’t add any nori flakes to them, because I’m not into seaweed at all. There are a few frozen items on the market now that emulate fish sticks. You could check those out for Maxwell! For me, I was always more into the breading and malt vinegar than I was eating the fish. So Isa’s beer battered tofu in Vegan Brunch is probably my favorite for that purpose.

    • I usually just have them plain too in salads or diced into “ceviche” with lime juice, avocado, and onions. But if you need to add more “fried” into your life, this is a tasty way to do it! ;)

  6. Brilliant idea, Cadry! I have a can of hearts of palm in the cupboard, that I picked up on a whim and have never known what to do with them. Thanks for the inspiration.

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