OK, let’s get one thing straight, I have no idea what to call this salad. For me, dishes with cumin, lime and avocados just make me think of Ecuador or Argentina. The point is that the flavors play really nice with the gooseberries. The greens could be anything, literally — but a pinch of cumin and a squeeze of lime can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary, and they really bring gooseberries to life.
So when you see those tart, tangy little grape/tomato-looking balls of happiness in the farmer’s market or grocery store in late June/early July, you may wonder what the heck to do with them. They are full-flavored pops of drama, and this salad is the perfect stage.
Summer Salad with Gooseberries
1 bunch red chard
1 pint gooseberries
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and black pepper Optional: 1/4 cup cotija cheese
Prep chard. Wash and thinly slice the chard by stacking the leaves, making lengthwise slits, then slicing every half inch down to the stalk. Add to large salad bowl.
Prep avocado. Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Make crosswise slices, then push against skin to release the chunks in a bowl. Slice the lime in half and juice over the avocado then toss to coat. This will help prevent the avocado from turning brown.
Prep gooseberries. Wash the gooseberries; remove any leaves or stems. Slice the gooseberries in half.
Finish salad. Combine the sliced chard, chopped avocado along with lime juice, and gooseberries in a salad bowl. Add enough olive oil to coat, the cumin, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat completely and serve. Optional: Sprinkle with cotija cheese before serving. The cotija is a nice salty topping, but can be difficult to find so omitting it is just fine
Now that I’m in the food business, I realize that many a’chef-recipe likely arises from trying to use up remnant ingredients. Such is the case with this salad. I had a small container of puréed pepitas in the fridge since the fall and I wanted my shelf space back. Even though making the pepita purée is very easy, I believe that almond or cashew butter blended with a little extra salt and olive oil would be just as tasty. Maybe even peanut butter, as long as it is all-natural and unsweetened.
This salad is fantastic! I am not, by nature, the type of person that goes bonkers for a kale salad, but this was really good! The creamy purée tempered the bitter greens and crunchy cauliflower, and the citrus gave bright pops of sweetness.
Makes 2 servings
Winter Kale Salad with Citrus, Cauliflower, and Pepito Purée
1/2 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bunch kale
2 big florets cauliflower
1 cup citrus fruit, such blood or mandarin oranges
*If you don’t want to make pepita purée, substitute with almond or cashew butter, thinned with olive oil and lightly salted.
Roast the pepitas. Preheat the oven to 375°. Spread the pumpkin seeds in a pie plate or baking dish. Bake the pumpkin seeds for 8-10 minutes, stirring once, until lightly browned and crisp; let cool completely.
Make the pepita purée. Transfer the roasted pumpkin seeds to a mini food processor. Add the olive oil and pulse until the seeds are ground to a paste. Season with salt.
Prepare the salad ingredients. Stack the kale leaves and cut them into chiffondae (thin strips crosswise). Slice the cauliflower into small bite-size pieces. If you have a small citrus, just peel and break apart the pieces. For a larger one, cut into quarters then remove the outer peel with a knife, careful not to remove too much fruit. Cut into bite-size pieces.
Mix it all together. Combine the kale and cauliflower in a mixing bowl. Pour the pepita purée over it and mix until all the vegetables are evenly coated. Top with citrus and serve.