Fern Salad (Pako Salad)
I’ve always loved eating ferns (known as pako in the Philippines). Growing up in General Santos City, this type of plant is plentiful and I’m sure in a lot of other provinces in the country too. It grows on the mountain parts and riversides.
A word of caution though, not all ferns are edible. So if you are foraging ferns as food, make sure to check on resources online so you are aware of which ferns to eat and NOT to eat. I found this video helpful and I advice you to watch it so you can inform yourself ahead.
I ended up making this dish after my usual weekly visit to Carbon Market. It’s the biggest farmer’s market in Cebu by the way. You read more about it here, or watch my food tour vid of the place here. I got excited when I saw a pile being sold by one of the lovely vendors, so I grabbed a kilo for 25 Pesos. Yep! That’s 25 Pesos. I heard that this is an expensive and rare produce in the western countries and a plate of it in restaurants would be at $25, that’s about Php 1,300 pesos in our country. Whooaa! So I went home a happy kid and excited to whip up something delish for it. So I did! And ladies in gents, here’s my Fern Salad with Passion Fruit and Fish Sauce Vinaigrette.
1/2 kilo ferns/pako with bottom stalks removed
2 medium size red tomato – sliced
1/2 medium sized red onion – thinly sliced
2 boiled eggs – sliced
2 passion fruits – juice and seedlings removed and separated
2 kalamansi – squeezed (substitute: ½ lemon – squeezed)
1 2 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon grounded black pepper
- Quick blanch the ferns in boiling water for 2-5 seconds, then dip in icy cold water to stop the cooking process. Then drain to dry.
- Mix the passion fruit juice with seedlings, kalamansi, honey, fish sauce, and black pepper.
- Then toss the dressing to the dry ingredients. Enjoy!