Chef Leo Asaro combines a variety of textures with bold flavors to create a crunchy kale salad that’s nicely balanced by a touch of heat and the sweet, tangy notes of Cape gooseberries. Sunflower petals give the dish a fresh, seasonal pop of color and ricotta salata adds a pleasant creamy element that complements the citrus juices. Keep your eyes peeled for Cape gooseberries, as they do have a short season, but keep in mind you can sub in tomatillos or regular old cherry tomatoes.
- 2 bunches Tuscan kale leaves, sliced thin
- 1 pint Cape gooseberries, quartered
- 1 pint sunflower seeds, shelled
- 4 tablespoons white sugar
- 2 tablespoons sriracha
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup grapefruit juice
- 1 cup sunflower petals
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup ricotta salata, shaved lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Rinse the kale and remove the leaves, discarding the stems, then cut the kale leaves into long, thin strips.
- Place the sunflower seeds in a mixing bowl. Add three tablespoons sugar and Sriracha. Mix the sunflower seeds with a spatula until evenly coated.
- Arrange the sunflower seed mixture in a baking pan lined with parchment paper (a Silpat would be best). Place baking pan in oven at 300 degrees for 12 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven and let the sunflower seeds cool. The coating should become hard and the seeds will have to be broken apart by hand.
- Pour all of the juices in a mixing bowl. Add one tablespoon sugar and a touch of salt to taste. Mix thoroughly with a whisk.
- Place kale and gooseberries in a mixing bowl.
- Add the olive oil and scant amounts of the citrus vinaigrette to the kale, mixing well and trying to coat each piece of kale.
- Add the sunflower petals and mix again.
- Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed.
- Place the salad in a bowl of your choice. Garnish with the sunflower seeds and shaved ricotta salata.