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Vegetarian Hearts of Palm “Calamari”

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: about 10 minutes total

1 to 2 cans Reese Hearts of Palm, well drained
Batter:
2 tablespoons beaten egg (1/2 egg)
3/4 cup beer or cold club soda
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning blend
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Canola oil for frying
Grated Parmesan cheese, snipped fresh basil or Italian parsley and warm marinara sauce (optional toppings)

Cut hearts of palm into 3/4-inch slices and remove the centers to make rings. Place between 2 layers of paper towels to remove excess moisture. Beat together all batter ingredients. Preheat oil in a deep skillet to 375°F using a candy thermometer (or when a few drops of water begin to pop, the oil is hot enough). Dip hearts of palm rings into batter and quickly drop into hot oil, making sure to now crowd the skillet. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until coating is lightly browned, turning if necessary. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined baking sheets. Remove any bits of cooked batter from oil before cooking the next batch. Fry each piece once more until they’re golden brown and crunchy. Place on a platter and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and herbs. Serve with marinara sauce. They may also be fried the day before serving, and baked at 400°F until hot and crisp.
 
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