Nothing quite screams the ultimate summer salad recipe than one that incorporates all the wonderful summer fruits. Brown Turkey figs, red currants and blackberries, all beautifully combined to make a super simple savoury salad.
Why You’ll Love Red Currant Salad with Figs
Easy. Fancy. Quick. No cook. Need I say more?
When the produce is as stunning as these gorgeous summer fruits are, sometimes it’s best to let them do all the hard work and not overcomplicate what’s right in front of us.
This red currant salad only takes 15 minutes to put together. Not only is it gracefully plated, but it is also completely uncomplicated by any cooking process. Red currants also pairs well with figs, making it a salad to keep coming back for.
To really enjoy this recipe, this summer salad recipe is individually plated rather than put in a big heap for sharing. No doubt your family and friends will think you’re so sophisticated. Let’s not tell them all you did was chop, blitz and assemble, shall we?
What Are Red Currants?
Red currants are small round pops of berries usually picked with the fruit still attached to the stem.
They are a fruit of a shrub and are members of the Ribes family that grow well in warm summers and cold winters. There are over 150 species within the Ribes family, including white or black currants and gooseberries.
These berries grow in clusters and are allowed to ripen on the plant before they are picked.
Red currants are rich in vitamins and minerals. Therefore, they are healthy with very few calories whilst also being rich in fibre.
What Do Red Currants Taste Like?
Red currants are the size of a small pearl and are bright red in colour. The skin is slightly translucent and you can see through to the pulp flesh.
The berry is acidic and can be quite tart with sweet notes. It does contain a fair bit of tannin, and like all fruits that do, they can make your mouth pucker.
How to Store Red Currants?
Red currants are best refrigerated. They are very fragile fruits so they will only really last for about 3 days if you wish to eat them fresh.
You can also freeze red currants. Gently remove the berries from the stem and lay them separately. After they have frozen, you can put them all together in a freezer bag. This will last for several months.
Instead of freezing them, they make for excellent fruit platter presentation ideas or if you’re enjoying Southern Hemisphere Christmas, they would look spectacular in our Christmas fruit platter: chocolate salad!
Flavour/Texture: The first impression you’ll get of this red currant salad is that it’s stunning. The first mouthful will give you nothing but fresh produce that is both tart and sweet at the same time.
The trick is to eat everything together so that it balances the tartness from the red currants with the sweetness from the figs. The mixed leaves bring all the fruit down to a savoury level as you use it to envelop the soft fruit between your knife and fork.
Ease: Sophisticated yet oh so simple. No cooking involved. All you’re doing is cutting some figs, chopping some chervil and blitzing the salad dressing. Nothing else!
Time: Flat 15 minutes. Don’t overthink the individual plates. It will look stunning if you follow the assembly instructions properly. Or, if you’re creative, plate it as you wish! You can’t go wrong.
Here are the ingredients for red currant salad with figs:
Brown Turkey figs: Figs are never very cheap, so ensure you pick the best of the lot. Figs are incredibly fragile, so even though you have to press gently to see if they are suitable, you don’t want to spoil them.
You want firm figs. The skin should be taut and not wrinkly; the stem should be a fresh bright green, and ensure there are no dents. Make sure mould has not started to form anywhere on the fruit.
The preference is to purchase individual figs rather than in a packet. This way you get to inspect them one by one.
Mixed leaves: Any mixed leaves will do. If you like the anise-like flavours of rocket/arugula, select mixed leaves which have them. All you are looking for are fresh greens.
Red currants: These are just pops of joy! They can be quite tart on their own but some are also on the sweeter side. Get red currants that are still on the stem, as they will place beautifully on top of the figs and mixed leaves.
Blackberries: As they appear in the summer, blackberries are simply glorious. Sweat, tart and fresh, it’s so easy to keep eating them all summer long!
They make for an excellent salad dressing, providing lovely berry notes while adding a fresh and fruit element, just like our raspberry walnut dressing.
Chervil: A herb which also belongs to the parsley family but is less intrusive. Soft and delicate, it is a great accompaniment to the salad.
Walnut oil: An oil that doesn’t get used enough. Cold-pressed walnut oil is fragrant and perfect for salad dressing. But, of course, this is a bit of a luxury, so off-the-shelf walnut oil will suffice.
Honey: A fair bit of tartness is going on with the berries and red currant, so a dollop of honey will help to take the edge off.
Sherry Vinegar: Adds depth to the salad dressing. It doesn’t compete with walnut oil as it has less bite compared to white wine vinegar, yet it is more complex than apple cider vinegar.
Variations and Substitutions
Vegan recipe: To make this recipe vegan friendly, you can substitute the honey in the salad dressing with maple syrup or organic rice malt syrup. If you prefer, you can just omit it altogether.
Baby spinach: If you’re not a fan of mixed leaves, especially if it has peppery leaves like radicchio or rocket/arugula, then simply get a bunch of baby spinach leaves. They will be perfectly fine for this recipe.
Red currant substitute: There is nothing quite like fresh red currants. But you can certainly use raspberries for this recipe.
Blackberry substitute: For the fresh component on the plate, you can try mulberries or blueberries. For the salad dressing, you can use frozen blackberries if you can’t find fresh ones.
Figs: Figs are one of a kind. If you can’t find figs, wait until you can. This salad is nothing with the mighty fig!
Chervil substitute: As chervil and parsley are from the same family, some finely chopped flat leaf parsley will do nicely if the chervil eludes you.
Step by step instructions for how to make red currant salad:
How to Make Salad
Remove the stem from the Brown Turkey figs. Cut into quarters.
Roughly chop chervil to yield 1 tbsp.
Wash mixed leaves, red currants and blackberries separately and pat dry.
How to Make Blackberry Vinaigrette
In a food processor, add the walnut oil, blackberries, honey and sherry vinegar.
Blitz until well combined.
How to Assemble Salad
In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the mixed leaves and blackberry salad dressing. Toss until well combined.
This is an individually plated salad, so 4 x small plates will be required.
On each plate, place the mixed leaves tossed with the salad dressing.
Add 4 Brown Turkey fig quarters and make sure they are together.
Place a small bunch of red currants on top.
Divide the blackberries equally among the plates and place on the side, on top of the leaves.
Sprinkle some chopped chervil on top.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Great Main Dishes for This Salad
Looking for some great summer mains for this red currant salad? Here are some great ideas:
A great summer salad deserves an equally delicious summer inspired main dish. Nothing quite beats steak and salad so this grilled tomahawk steak and the sweet flavours of the red currant salad is such a great combination.
How to Make This Salad Perfectly [Expert Tips]
Quality of the figs: Figs have a relatively short shelf life so it is always best to consume them as soon as you purchase them, or if you’re lucky enough, pluck them off the tree!
Ensure they are plump, bright, and have no bruised or brown spots. They should be soft to hold but not squishy. For this salad to work, the figs must be of excellent quality.
Toss lightly: Almost all fruit in this recipe are delicate to touch and prone to being mashed easily. When tossing the mixed leaves with the blackberries, be sure to do it gently, and it is more of a fold than a mixing of ingredients.
Handle with care: We want the red currants to remain on their stem, so if you’re hand-picking a bunch from the farmer’s market, don’t be throwing them at the bottom of the grocery bag. I usually carry it separately, just in case!
Frequently Asked Questions
Red currants can be found in the summer season. For those in the Southern Hemisphere, they are the perfect fruit to get to spruce up that Christmas table.
Frozen red currants can often be found year-round should you require them for a special recipe.
When in season, red currants can usually be found in the refrigerated section of our everyday supermarket. Specialty grocers and farmers markets will most certainly have them too.
Absolutely! There is no cooked component involved in this salad so it’s easy to transport.
Make the dressing in advance and transport in a well-sealed jar or container.
If you can assemble the salad at the destination, that would be most ideal. If you can’t, you can make the salad on one big platter and then drizzle the salad dressing just before serving. That way, the leaves won’t get soggy and will be sprightly and fresh.
Figs are best eaten when they are slightly soft as hard figs mean they are not ripe. Figs are highly perishable so you should only be buying them no more than 2 days out before you make this salad.
Ensure there is no mould on the fruit and the stem is intact and bright green. The skin shouldn’t be wrinkly nor should it be bruised.
Always buy them as individual fruit instead of in a pre-packaged scenario so that you can inspect each of them separately. At the price we have to pay for them, you can afford to be picky!
This salad truly epitomises the warmer months and there is no better way to showcase this gorgeous produce than by creating gorgeous plate ups. With no cooking required and mere 15 minutes to whip up, you really have no excuse not to give this a try!
Red Currant Salad with Figs
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- Remove the stem from the Brown Turkey figs. Cut into quarters.
- Roughly chop chervil to yield 1 tbsp.
- Wash mixed leaves, red currants and blackberries separately and pat dry.
- In a food processor, add the walnut oil, blackberries, honey and sherry vinegar.
- Blitz until well combined.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the mixed leaves and blackberry salad dressing. Toss until well combined.
- This is an individually plated salad, so 4 x small plates will be required.
- On each plate, place the mixed leaves tossed with the salad dressing.
- Add 4 Brown Turkey fig quarters and make sure they are together.
- Place a small bunch of red currants on top.
- Divide the blackberries equally among the plates and place on the side, on top of the leaves.
- Sprinkle some chopped chervil on top.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Any form of mixed leaves will work for the salad. If you prefer, you can use just baby spinach leaves if you’re not a fan of the peppery flavours of rocket/arugula.
- You can substitute the red currants with raspberries, although you won’t get the same tartness or the delicate pops of the currants.
- You can use frozen blackberries for the salad dressing but advise against using it on the salad.
- If you can’t find fresh blackberries you can substitute them with blueberries.
- For a vegan salad, organic rice malt syrup or maple syrup in the salad dressing will work.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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