I’VE always loved Ensaladang Pako. When the pako, or fiddlehead fern, is fresh, it’s crisp and crunchy and delicious, especially in a fresh salad with just tomatoes and salted egg and a drizzling of vinaigrette. But it’s not often that you find pako in the market. So, when my husband Raff and I went to market this morning and I saw fresh pako being sold by one of the vegetable vendors along the corridor of Cainta Public Market, I grabbed the opportunity to make my own Ensaladang Pako. It was, after all, only Php10 per bundle, and if you got three bundles, you could have it for just Php25. Of course I got three bundles.
I was also confident that I could make my own Ensaladang Pako since I had the expanded second edition of Kulinarya: A Guidebook to Philippine Cuisine, which was released by Anvil Publishing Inc. only last month. Authored by Glenda Barretto, Conrad Calalang, Margarita Fores, Myrna Segismundo, Jessie Sincioco and Claude Tayag, edited by Michaela Fenix and photographed by Neal Oshima, the book contains the recipe of Ensaladang Pako, which I immediately checked out upon returning home from the market. The recipe called for boiled quail eggs, but I bought a nice, colorless salted egg from the market this morning, so I opted to use that one in place of the boiled quail eggs. It also called for a sliced onion, but since I didn’t like the taste of raw onion, I omitted that, too.
Here’s the recipe:
1 kg. pako (fresh fiddlehead fern)
200 grams tomatoes, sliced
1-2 salted eggs, sliced
1. Cut the tips of the fiddlehead fern, about 4 inches from the top. Discard the tough stems. Wash and spin-dry or wrap in paper towels.
2. Wash tomatoes and cut into wedges.
3. Peel salted egg and slice into thin wedges.
4. Arrange pako with tomatoes and salted egg on salad plate. Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve.
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
2. Whisk together until emulsion forms.