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! Today fish fingers & custard gets a vegan makeover with hearts of palm.
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 vegan 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 & Avocado Dip
For Breaded Hearts of Palm
- 14 ounces hearts of palm from can or jar, drained
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Pinch salt & pepper
- ½ cup non-dairy milk
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Canola oil for shallow frying
- 1 Tablespoon fresh basil chopped (Optional garnish)
To Make Breaded Hearts of Palm
- 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.)
To Make Avocado Dip
- 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.