If you’re looking for a new side dish to grace your Christmas table, or a great side dish for any meal for that matter, then this is a recipe you’re going to want to try. Ten years ago the word umami was something only the Japanese were familiar with but now it’s become part of our common food language and is basically used to describe food that has a moreish savoury taste, with some people referring to it as the fifth taste after salt, sweet, sour and bitter. This dish is packed full of umami thanks to the inclusion of miso, soy and mushrooms. I was expecting the kale to have a slightly Asian slant to it but it actually didn’t at all – the miso just comes across in the same way as, say anchovies would in a sauce, you can’t pick they’re in there but you just know something very tasty is going on. The cream mellows things up a bit and the shiitake mushrooms add a nice meatiness to the kale. You could pair this with anything from steak to roast turkey or chicken and it would also work well with salmon. Next time I might serve it on it’s own with a fried egg on top for a meat free main course.
Ingredients – Serves 4 as a side dish Adapted from Food 52
3 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 large bunch kale, stems removed, roughly chopped
250g shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced thickly
1 tablespoon soy sauce
¼ cup dry vermouth, you can substitute with white wine
½ cup cream
1 tablespoon white (shiro) miso, or more to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. When melted, add the shallot and garlic. Cook over low heat without letting the garlic and shallots colour, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the kale and continue to cook for a few more minutes until wilted. If it won’t all fit in the pan, just add what’s left after it’s cooked down a bit.
Meanwhile, in a small pan set over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened and cooked through, about 5 minutes. If the mushrooms become too dry, add another tablespoon of butter. Stir in the soy sauce, cook another minute and turn off the heat.
Once the kale is wilted and soft, increase the heat to medium high, add the vermouth or wine and cook until it’s just evaporated, about 1 minute. Add the cream and miso, stirring until completely incorporated. Reduce heat to medium and cook about 2 more minutes until the sauce reduces slightly and tightens up the around the kale. Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper if you like (but don’t forget the mushrooms have soy sauce). Gently stir through the mushrooms and serve hot.