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Genius Miso-Creamed Kale

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Every week on Food52, Senior Editor Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that are nothing short of genius.

Today: Creamed greens were always comfort food, but now they don't need the steak on the side. 

Trent Pierce's Miso Creamed Kale on Food52

Creamed spinach -- let's own it -- is just an excuse to eat swirls of cream.

The greens are almost an afterthought to get it to sit up on the plate, a thickening agent. You could be eating creamed mesclun -- would you know the difference?

Trent Pierce's Miso Creamed Kale on Food52

And there's nothing wrong with that. Some go to the steakhouse for the sides alone. But there's so much potential to tease out from the presence of a good green, and add even more dignity to cream's noble head start. 

Enter: kale. Specifically, lacinato. Unlike spinach, it doesn't lose its structure, and shrink into pudding.

Trent Pierce's Miso Creamed Kale on Food52

You've met kale, right? It's that thing you ate for lunch the past three days. But while we usually pigeonhole it into salads and smoothies, this is kale for the holidays. (Thanks for letting us borrow your kale for a minute, juice cleansers, we'll try not to get too much cream on it.)

More: 8 (Actually Different) Kale Salads

Trent Pierce on Food52

The recipe comes from Portland chef Trent Pierce, and its name alone shows off three major attractions: miso, cream, kale.

Any one of these is more than reason enough to pay attention -- but they just keep coming after that. Food52er deensiebat said it best: "I realize that it's not hard to love a dish with cream, booze, miso, and soy-cooked mushrooms. But still: Best. Kale. Ever." 

Making it is as simple as any other sautéed green, despite its fanciness and glowing reputation.

Here's what you do:

De-rib and trim down to size an enormous bunch of kale, or two smaller ones. (Here's how.)

Trent Pierce's Miso Creamed Kale on Food52  Trent Pierce's Miso Creamed Kale on Food52

Sauté shallots and garlic, then heap and heap in your kale. This is not a stir-fry, it's an exercise in pile management.

Trent Pierce's Miso Creamed Kale on Food52

Trent Pierce's Miso Creamed Kale on Food52

Meanwhile, there is a butter-mushroom-soy experience that will go down in a separate pan. This will be your dressy topping, and will test the limits of how much umami you can use to gird a single dish.

Trent Pierce's Miso Creamed Kale on Food52  Trent Pierce's Miso Creamed Kale on Food52

Trent Pierce's Miso Creamed Kale on Food52  Trent Pierce's Miso Creamed Kale on Food52

Trent Pierce's Miso Creamed Kale on Food52  Trent Pierce's Miso Creamed Kale on Food52

Finally, pour in some dry vermouth, scrape around and watch it steam away.

 Trent Pierce's Miso Creamed Kale on Food52

And work in your cream and miso. 

Trent Pierce's Miso Creamed Kale on Food52  Trent Pierce's Miso Creamed Kale on Food52
Trent Pierce's Miso Creamed Kale on Food52

Where cream alone could blur, vermouth and miso lay their anchors; where butter gets rich, soy battens down. It's a little too much, and just right at the same time. Just like the holidays. 

It would pretty great for any winter dinner party, or a night alone with a glass or two of sturdy red wine. 

And of course, it fits right in sidled up next to a nice slab of roast beef or turkey -- you'll just need a lot less gravy.

Trent Pierce's Miso Creamed Kale on Food52

 

Trent Pierce's Miso-Creamed Kale

Adapted slightly from Oregon Live (January, 2012)

Serves 4, as a side

3 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch lacinato kale, or 2 smaller ones, stems removed, roughly chopped
1/2 cup shimeji mushrooms with stems, or shiitake mushroom tops
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup dry vermouth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon white (shiro) miso, or more to taste

See the full recipe (and save and print it) at Food52.

Photos by James Ransom, Trent Pierce photo by EaterPDX

This article originally appeared on Food52.com: Trent Pierce's Miso-Creamed Kale