I had a very scrumptious salad at a restaurant in San Pablo, Laguna sometime last year. The salad was a great delight because instead of the usual greens, it made use of fiddlehead fern or pako as it is known in Filipino.
Pako is an edible fern that is prevalent in the Philippines. But unfortunately, we don’t get to see (enough) pako in groceries here in Metro Manila. So when I saw a whole load of pako at the Lung Center Sunday Market last week, I did not think twice about buying this delicious vegetable. Pako is sold for only P15 per bunch.
Once I got home, I immediately created a salad out of it. The result: Pako Salad with Honey-Mustard Dressing.
PAKO SALAD WITH HONEY MUSTARD DRESSING
- Pako / Fiddlehead Ferns, 1 bunch
- Shitake Mushrooms, chopped
- Red onion, 1 head, minced
- Garlic cloves from 1 head, peeled but not chopped
To make the salad:
Roast the garlic in an oven toaster for about 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. Place in a cup or saucer and crush garlic with a fork. Set aside.
After washing, rinsing, and drying, chop the pako into salad-size/bite-size pieces. You can eat the stems as long as you use the soft part of the pako. To get the best part of the pako for your salad, use about 3/4 of each stalk.
Discard the 1/4 portion that is closest to the roots. This is the portion that is difficult to chew.
SALAD DRESSING INGREDIENTS
Olive oil, 1/4 cup
Mustard, 2 tbsp.
Honey, 2 tbsp.
Garlic, 2 cloves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Mix in the shitake mushrooms and onions. Set aside.
To make the dressing:
Mix all the ingredients together until fully combined with each other. You can use a disposable plastic container with a lid to shake the ingredients.
To assemble the salad, toss the dressing into the salad. Top with the roasted garlic.