I have developed a late night habit of turning on the TV to do some channel surfing before I fall asleep. A few weeks back, Rachel Khoo, a British cookbook author with her own TV show was on TV. Next to her that evening, out at some outhouse was a man preparing some fresh figs. I love figs so stayed on that channel (minus audio) to watch. What he did with the figs was fascinating. He took 2 sheets of parchment paper, placed halved figs on one sheet and covered the figs with the other sheet (image below). Then, he pressed down on them evenly and revealed a mosaic of flatten figs. How very pretty. With no audio and without my glasses in a darken room, I couldn’t quite tell what else went on it. So here is what I came up with. I had just made Raspberry Vinegar so naturally I had to use it in this recipe.

A ruby surrounded by diamonds in that shade would be lovely!

Pressed Fig Salad With Raspberry Vinaigrette

Prep: 15 minutes 
Inactive: 20 minutes
Level: Easy
Makes: Enough for 2 – 4 as part of a meal
Oven Temperature:
Can recipe be doubled? Yes.
Make ahead? Leave pressed figs in the refrigerator up to 6 hours.


~2 punnets of figs
~3/4 cup of cucumbers cut into ribbons (with a potato peeler)
~2- 4 oz of goat cheese or ricotta
~2 – 4 Tablespoons of mixed dried sweet-tart fruits (cranberries, mulberries, cherries, etc.)
~1 Tablespoon goji berries/wolfberries
~2 Tablespoons of sunflower/pumpkin seeds
~ 1 – 2 Tablespoon fresh mint
~1/2 Tablespoon fresh dill

Salad Dressing
~2 – 3 Tablespoons of honey
~1 – 2 Tablespoons of raspberry vinegar/white wine vinegar
~1 – 2 Tablespoons neutral tasting oil (grapeseed, sunflower, etc.)
salt and pepper to taste
20-minute Sweet Pickled Onions*
~1/3 cup of thinly sliced purple onions
~2 Tablespoons lemon juice
~2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
* These pickled onions have many uses. Please scroll down to ‘Tips’ for suggestions.


’20-minutes Sweet Pickled Onions’
1. Combine all ingredients for the pickled onion. Set aside for 20 minutes or up to 1 day ahead refrigerated. The aim is to get the onions sweet and to lose some of its sharpness. So taste the pickling onions and decide if you need to adjust seasonings or pickle them longer. It depends in part on the type of onion and lemon you use.
2. The longer the onions sit in the pickling liquid, the more liquid would be drawn out. You will not be using the pickling liquid as it does not go with this salad.
3. Before using the pickled onions, taste and adjust seasoning. More salt or sugar perhaps?
4. Remember to drain off the liquid before using.

Preparing to plate
1. This salad is best when served cold. Refrigerate your figs (and cucumbers) overnight. This makes it easier to press and peel off figs from the parchment paper.
2. Choose your serving plate(s). You might need more than one plate to fit all the figs.
3. Tear off 2 sheets of parchment paper slightly larger than the size of your serving plate. If using 2 serving plates, you need an additional 2 sheets.
4. Slice all the figs horizontally into 2.
5. Lay out one sheet of parchment paper over the plate.
6. Place the figs cut side down on the plate(s), leaving a 1″-2″ (2.5cm-5cm) space between figs. Depending on how pressed (that is, thin) you want the figs to be.

7. Cover figs with a sheet of parchment paper.

8. Transfer the parchment paper with the figs out of plate and onto a flat surface.
9. Place a large cutting board/baking sheet over the figs and press down hard and evenly to flatten the figs.
10. Take a peak at the figs. As soon as the figs touch each other, transfer the pressed figs (with parchment paper) back to the serving plate.
11. Remove the top parchment paper and adjust the pressed figs to fit onto your serving plate.  Re-cover the figs with the parchment paper.

12. Transfer the pressed figs back onto the cutting board/baking sheet. Choose the prettier side to face downwards.
13. Peel off the top sheet of parchment paper and invert your serving plate over the figs.
14. With the help of the cutting board/baking sheet, flip the figs onto the serving plate and peel off the remaining parchment paper to reveal your pretty mosaic of figs.
15. Refrigerate (covered) until ready to use (up to 6 hours).

Dressing the figs and serving
1. Arrange all the ingredients over/in between the figs. Remember to drain off the liquid from the pickled onions before using.
2. You can either:
(1) whisk the raspberry vinegar with the oil and then drizzle over the salad or drizzle them separately over the salad. Drizzle honey and finally sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
(2) Whisk up all the salad dressing ingredients and then dress over the salad.
4. Best served immediately.


(1) Here are 3 recipes where I use my ’20-minutes Sweet Pickled Onions’ :

1. Mango Salad With Salmon & Scallops Ceviche

2. Purple Salad

3. Beetroot Salad With ’20-minutes Sweet Pickled Onions’

(2) Try sprinkling the Sweet Pickled Onions over simply fried salt & peppered fish fillets.