The red currants looked so lovely in the grocery store, so red, so fruity, so...harmless. But those little suckers have a kick to 'em. They're pucker-inducing in the way of unripe things, but oddly delicious in the moment right before they attack the sides of your throat. I should have seen this coming, after all, even stupid birds know not to eat bright red berries--they're usually poisonous.
The only way to deal with these guys, I decided, was to respond with overwhelming force. Lots of oily, fishy flavor to fight back against the tiny tart terrors. The salad below was vaguely inspired by this recipe for Tuscan-Style White Bean, Tuna, and Red Currant Salad (from the California Raisin Marketing Board, no less). The Human Vacuum is out for the evening, so the portion below is a lovely--and very filling--meal for one hungry bird-brained blogger.
Red Currant, Tuna, and Chickpea Salad
Whisk together in a small bowl:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon, juiced (I used Meyer lemon, use less juice if you use a regular lemon--the currants will take care of the tartness component on their own, believe me.)
1 shallot, minced
2 scallions, white part only, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
In a larger bowl, combine:
1 can tuna, oil-packed for preference (if you use tuna in water, increase the amount of olive oil to compensate and perhaps consider adding an anchovy fillet to the dressing)
3/4 cup chickpeas
1/3-1/2 cup red currants, carefully plucked from their stems by hand
Pour the dressing over the salad, then shred some fresh basil on top. Mix thoroughly. Enjoy with some bread and cheese, or spooned onto greens as a very zippy starter salad.