Torta de Palmito or hearts of palm casserole—the only kind of casserole I ever had growing up. We were a Brazilian family living in the American suburbs, so our food was always a little different. None of my friends even knew what hearts of palm were! My mom just made what she knew and what she knew was always delicious. It was never fancy or stuffy–just good, simple recipes she learned from her mom while growing up in Brazil—and this was a favorite. Even the American additions to the family love it and make special requests for it—in Portuguese of course.
The peeps that make it all happen with ease and joy are Jennie Kelley on food styling, and Kristen Dale Butler on props and art direction. Kristen found inspiration in the stone (pedra portuguesa) sidewalks found all over Rio de Janeiro. Black and white abstract geometric patterns that compliment the waves and sand next to the sidewalk, as well as of the mountains. Hence, Kristen's use of the black and white serving tray under our main dish. Jennie ccoked the Torta exactly as mama Elisa has for years. She baked three and we had some for lunch! Gostozo!
Lighting was a single strobe to the right side of camera and slightly behind the dish, through a double 6 by 6 foot silk scrim. Scrim was raised a little to allow the strobe light to "leak" through, simulating sun light on the table. You get the effect of sun rays coming through sheer curtains. No fill cards were used. Contrast increased in post.
Click on image for the recipe.