When I was a kid, the idea of ferns being edible boggled my brain. Ferns, those ornamental houseplants growing atop one of our walls? But they seemed so tough! It wasn’t until years later though, while vacationing in a friend’s home in San Pablo, Laguna was I able to try it.
Pako, aka fiddlehead fern, have tender, young shoots that are so nicely crunchy. Drizzled with a sweet vinaigrette, it makes for a really refreshing salad. Here, I pair it off with sliced tomatoes and itlog na maalat (salted eggs). Well, actually, just mostly the egg yolks of the itlog na maalat. I find the white part a bit too salty for my tastes so I usually skip it, taking just the rich, velvety yolks.
Aside from the pako, tomatoes and salted eggs, I also have rice and pan-fried SPAM. I cut the SPAM into flowers, using steel vegetable cutters then garnished them with some pako fronds masquerading as leaves. And no, that small amount of SPAM is not enough for me! What I did was hide some more, plus the leftovers I cut the flowers from under the rice. That way, I get to satisfy my appetite, while still maintaining a pretty lunch.