Manila has fallen in love with the “Pako” Salad (Fiddlehead Ferns salad). I discovered this Filipino fascination with fiddlehead ferns on a recent trip to the Philippines. Everywhere I went, the Pako Salad was served as a starter. In fact, at a lunch with well known Filipino food icon Ms. Glenda Barretto at her Via Mare restaurant, she mentioned that the demand for this type of salad was so high “our suppliers can’t keep up with the demand for ferns.”
So for nearly a month I was in the Philippines I was served the Pako Salad every day. I got so used to the sweet sour flavors of the dressing and the leafy-greens texture of the ferns which was almost like watercress. Sadly, when I came back to my home in the USA, I missed my daily dose of Pako Salad.
In the absence of ferns here in my suburban home, I used fresh spinach greens instead to make a salad. Filipino dishes often have a combination of very salty and very sweet together in one plate. So I tried to accomplish these flavors in this spinach salad.
Salted eggs in a Filipino salad are a mainstay and a must. Most Asian groceries have salted eggs in their refrigerated section. And when you combine the salty slices with the spinach leaves, tomatoes and red onion, then the contrasts are truly terrific.
Try this spinach side the next time you have Asian entrees on your menu. Mix the sweet honey-like dressing right before you dive into the greens. You will love it!
Filipino SPINACH SALAD with TOMATOES, SALTED EGGS and Balsamic-Honey vinegar dressing
2 cups fresh spinach, blanched
2 large tomatoes, sliced
2 salted eggs, peeled and sliced (available in Asian groceries)**
1 medium red onion, sliced thin
½ teaspoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon rock salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 small bunch scallions, chopped for garnish
1/3 cup Honey Ridge Farms Balsamic Honey Vinegar*
- Blanch the spinach in rapidly boiling water. Dip the fresh spinach leaves for a minute, then take it out, drain and dip it in ice cold water. Drain off any excess liquids.
- In a salad bowl, toss together the blanched spinach, garlic, ginger, onions, salt and pepper.
- Arrange on top of the salad the tomato and salted egg slices. Garnish with chopped scallions.
- Serve the salad dressing on the side.
**COOK’S COMMENTS: When I buy the salted hardboiled eggs from the Asian grocery, I heat it again for 10 minutes in brisk boiling water after I get home. If you prefer, you can use sliced hard boiled eggs for this recipe instead of salted eggs
*HONEY RIDGE FARMS Salad Dressings are gourmet Grade-A honey-based products made in the most responsible manner.These are the best pure, artisan, locally sourced honey products. The Salad Dressings are blended with the finest Grade A Clover Honey and spices. Available only at the finest specialty stores in your area.
For more about the 5 Generations of Honey Sweetness, and where to buy Honey Ridge Farms Honey Products, see www.honeyridgefarms.com
Disclosure : I was not compensated for this post, but will gladly recommend this dressing for this delicious dish.