Lasang Pinoy 24 : (1)
Ubod and Parmesan Salad a la Marketman
It’s the 24th edition of Lasang Pinoy and the chosen topic or ingredient is coconut, hosted by Kai over at Bucaio! Having just returned from Albay, where nearly everything you eat seems to incorporate some aspect of the coconut, I thought I might write an entry on something with gata or coconut milk. But then again, I was incredibly fascinated by my ubod (heart of palm) experience at the Legaspi market, so I decided to do two ubod-based salads instead, as a double contribution to Lasang Pinoy 24. First up, a fusion salad that I made without a recipe, but patterned after a favorite Italian salad I have enjoyed for many years. Ubod paired with parmesan may sound odd at first glance, and "fusion” cooking isn’t my thing, but do this the way I describe it and you will probably love the results… The inspiration is an Italian salad made with raw baby artichokes, endive, raddichio, celery or fennel and parmesan shavings with a simple vinaigrette. The original salad is edgy, slightly bitter, crunchy, sharp and delicious. I wanted to recreate some of this experience, but experimenting while at the family office in Cebu, my choice of ingredients was limited at best…
You would be forgiven if you thought the above photo to be the work of some avant garde sculptor; in fact, it is a whole ubod (albeit a small one) which I had purchased from the Carbon market in Cebu for just PHP150. I wanted to closely inspect the different cross sections of the ubod and I decided to make this salad with the ubod from exactly halfway up the piece in the photo. By the time I blanched the ubod, it was probably not more than 8-10 hours since it was decapitated from the living tree.
This photo shows the cross section of a freshly sliced ubod, with the center section being the most succulent. I sliced off several pieces of this fresh ubod and ate it raw. It was rather moist, somewhat sweetish and the flavor reminiscent of fresh buko juice. After thinly slicing up about 5-6 cups worth of this utterly fresh ubod, I blanched it in a pot of boiling water for about 1 minute, then drained, cooled, and stuck the ubod in a fridge in a colander lined with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. Chill for at least 1 hour before continuing with the recipe.
Meanwhile, slice up 2-3 stems of good crisp celery (I used imported Australian celery), make about a cup or two of parmesan savings from authentic parmiggiano reggiano or the best parmesan you can find. Take the chilled ubod out of the fridge and dry it with more paper towels and place in a salad bowl. Add the chopped celery, and dress with a simple vinaigrette of good olive oil, some white wine or red wine vinegar and salt and cracked black pepper. Toss with about half of the parmesan. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan over the top and serve. This was surprisingly good. The ubod was a good substitute or replacement for the baby artichokes, while the celery provided crunch and the cheese, well, who doesn’t like parmesan?? Ideally, I would have wanted to add some baby arugula for some bitterness and sharpness, but the salad was a hit anyway… Other possible variations might include shaved fennel and or raddichio.