In my latest trip to Laguna last Summer via Viaje del Sol (a project promoting collectively art, culture, food and travelling in the Southern Tagalog) I must admit I was literally awed at the beauty of this region both in scenery and in culture; We started off at the “paper mache” and wooden carvings of Paete and Pila Laguna. Then we headed to the pottery exhibition of the famous potter of San Pablo Laguna , Ugu Bigyan. I enjoyed a wonderful lunch of kuwato, fern salad and some boiled potato yam with tapiocca really refreshing. We continued our journey to Majayjay and slept at the homey but very classy Bed and Breakfast of Majayjay run and owned by Encar Benedicto. The feeling was really amazing cause she treated us more of a friend visiting her place than a guest. The dinner was equally sumptous; grilled tilapia, sinampalukang manok (chicken soup in tamarind), habanera (meat loaf laguna style) kuwato (eggplant salad) and of course the star of the night fern salad. It was the first time for me to eat fern salad. I never imagined that they tasted this good. Luckily in the market of Laguna you can buy a bunch of them for only five pesos , they are freshly cut and even wrapped in banana leaves. I never felt so happier touring my own country.
Truly the southern tagalog have a lot to be proud of;
Fern Salad is a appetizer or Entree you can serve together grilled fish or meat
Ingredients: (this will serve 4 to 5 persons)
about 2 bunches of fern (get only the tips or the young shoot)
3 salted eggs
1 red onion, sliced
5 pieces of red tomatoes
2 tablespoons of vinegar (use apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar if you have)
5 tablespoons of olive oil
salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar
Wash and clean the fern tendrils. In a casserol, put a lot of water with some salt and let it boil. Add the fern for blanching (remove after 7 to 8 seconds) and put immediately in a bowl of water with some ice on it. Drain and pat dry. In a salad bowl, put the fern leaves, sliced tomatoes, onions and sliced salted egg. Toss the salad together with your dressing. Serve chilled.