Plant-based eating is in the spotlight. In late April, food and cooking site Epicurious announced that it would no longer publish recipes that use beef. And just a couple days ago, famed New York City fine-dining restaurant Eleven Madison Park shared that it will not serve meat or seafood when it reopens. Closer to home, we’re seeing admiration for this fresh cuisine play out, too.
Taking inspiration from its surroundings, Planterra Conservatory, the botanical wedding venue in West Bloomfield Twp., recently unveiled a new menu with more vegetable-centric dishes. And while Planterra assures that it will continue to offer favorites like filet mignon and jumbo shrimp, wedding couples and their guests can now enjoy plant-based meals as well.
“Not only can you get married among the plants and flowers at Planterra, but guests can also have a full, filling five-course menu made exclusively from plants,” says Shane Pliska, president of Planterra, in a press release. “Our plant-based menu is not just an option, it’s a feature — and highly requested.”
Standout options on the revamped menu include the Planterra Palm Cake, an hors d’oeuvre that’s made from hearts of palm and artichoke hearts. Below, Planterra shares the recipe for the dish — as well as an accompanying vegan tomato aioli and salad — so you can enjoy it at home.
How to Make the Vegan Planterra Palm Cake Salad
Planterra Palm Cake (18 cakes, six servings)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can (14 oz.) hearts of palm in brine, drained and rinsed
1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts in brine, drained and rinsed
2 tsp. Old Bay
1 ½ tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. Cornstarch
¼ cup nutritional yeast (or parmesan cheese for non-vegan)
½ tsp. salt
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
2 tsp. lemon zest
1 sheet toasted nori
⅔ cup panko breadcrumbs, divided (substitute with alternative to breadcrumbs if gluten-free or omit this ingredient if desired)
Canola oil for searing
In a small sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sweat the shallots and celery for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté another minute. Remove from heat.
Wrap the artichokes and hearts of palm in a clean tea towel and squeeze to remove as much moisture as possible from the vegetables. This will also help break the vegetables into smaller pieces. Unwrap the towel and transfer the dried vegetables to paper towels to drain further.
Meanwhile, add the sautéed vegetables, Old Bay, paprika, cornstarch, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and lemon zest to the bowl of a food processor. Cut the nori into small pieces using kitchen shears or shred by hand. Add this to the bowl of the food processor as well and pulse a few times to combine the ingredients. Add in the artichokes and hearts of palm. Pulse a few more times until the vegetables have been roughly chopped and fully incorporated into the mixture.
Transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl, along with ¼ cup of the breadcrumbs and combine. Allow this mixture to rest for 2-3 minutes. When pressed firmly, the mixture should hold together very well.
Divide the mixture into 18 tablespoons. Firmly press and form each portion of dough into a round, flat cake, approximately 2 inches wide. Keep the cakes petite in size; a burger-size patty is too large. Transfer cakes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Cover the cakes in plastic wrap and refrigerate until 30 minutes before you are ready to serve them. The uncooked cakes will keep in the fridge for up to overnight. Otherwise, proceed to the next step.
Place the remaining breadcrumbs in a small bowl. Gently press each cake into the breadcrumbs to loosely coat and return to the sheet tray.
Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a sheet tray with a wire rack. In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, add enough canola oil to reach a depth of ¼ of an inch. Over medium-high flame, heat until the oil is shimmering, but not smoking.
Add in half of the cakes and sear until evenly golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the browned cakes to the sheet pan with the wire rack.
Repeat searing procedure with the other half of the cakes. Add more oil into the pan as needed to maintain the same ¼ inch depth. When all cakes have been seared, transfer them to the oven to finish cooking for 5-8 minutes.
Vegan Tomato Aioli (1 cup)
⅓ cup sundried tomatoes, packed in oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 ½ tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. smoked paprika
½ cup Vegenaise (regular mayonnaise can be used if not vegan)
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. fresh tarragon, minced
Place all ingredients except for the tarragon in the bowl of a food processor. Blend until the tomatoes have been finely chopped. Add salt and paprika to taste.
Fold in fresh tarragon. Refrigerate until it is time to serve. This sauce will keep well in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. (The aioli recipe makes twice as much as you will need for the palm cakes, but Planterra recommends using the extra aioli on sandwiches or as a dip for crudité.)
Planterra Salad (six servings)
1 cup pomegranate vinaigrette*
Blistered heirloom tomatoes**
5 oz. baby kale, washed
5 oz. spring mix, washed
2 avocados, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
½ red onion, peeled and thinly sliced, rinsed with cold water
*Pomegranate vinaigrette ingredients
½ cup pomegranate juice
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tsp. honey
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp. salt
**Blistered heirloom tomatoes ingredients
1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes, washed
1 Tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. smoked paprika
½ tsp. salt
To make the vinaigrette, reduce the pomegranate juice by half by simmering over medium heat in a saucepan.
Place the reduced juice and all other vinaigrette ingredients in a blender and mix for about 60 seconds until they emulsify and take on a creamy appearance.
Refrigerate the pomegranate vinaigrette until it is time to assemble the salad.
Turn the oven up to 425 F. For the blistered tomatoes, toss the tomatoes with olive oil, paprika, and salt to evenly coat. Bake on a sheet tray for 10 minutes, or until the tomato skins start to pop and blister in the oven. Cool to room temperature.
To assemble the salads, add the greens and all other ingredients to a large bowl and toss with ¾ – 1 cup of the vinaigrette, adjusting based on how much dressing you prefer.
Divide salad evenly between six plates. Top with 3 warm palm cakes and a dollop of tomato aioli.
Planterra Conservatory, 7315 Drake Road, West Bloomfield Twp., 248-661-1591; planterraevents.com