I never jumped on the kale bandwagon when it became the most blogged about vegetable a year or two ago. I avoid foods that are trendy, or should I say, foods that are trending (and when did trend suddenly become a verb?) It’s not because I don’t like kale: I do grow the darker version in my garden, or rather, it grows itself annually, the tall Tuscan Prince of Winter, Cavolo Nero. Now that kale has been outstripped by the dreaded coconut in all its fatty guises, I might safely write about it.
My friend Dianne presented me with a large bouquet of beautiful purple tipped kale leaves. We were wandering through her productive veggie patch, considering the nature of gardens in their Spring transitional stage. Her bountiful kale plants, all self-sown, may need to make way for spring potatoes. Some serious food swapping needs to happen down her end of the country lane. In the meantime I am happy to take the excess and swap for Cos lettuce or radicchio seedlings.
Our garden tour took place before we drank our way through the wine cellar and agreed that a sleepover was not only wise, but compulsory. We raised our glasses in tribute to our recently departed friend and pondered the meaning of life, all those questions that assume magnitude after a wine or six. Promises were made, and as I recall, a meal was eaten. We are too old and wise to adopt the famous drinker’s adage,”eating’s cheating”. No, maybe not wise.
But, getting back to that kale, now that the old-fashioned winter green is no longer trending, a healthy Japanese soup, combining kale, miso and tofu seems in order. I might even add a little recuperative salmon to the brew. Perhaps I should call this Penance Soup?
INGREDIENTS, for four.
- 5 cups water or vegetable stock
- 2 spring onions, white and light-green parts only, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons shiro miso or pale coloured miso
- 2 teaspoons Japanese soy sauce, such as, Kikkoman
- 85 gr kale, trimmed and shredded
- 175 gr silken tofu, drained, cut into small cubes
- 180 gr piece of salmon fillet, skin removed, cubed
- reserved chopped spring onion greens for serving
Bring the stock or water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add spring onions, ginger, and garlic. Reduce heat. Cover, and simmer 10 minutes.
Add miso, then stir to dissolve. Add the soy sauce, kale, and salmon. Return to a simmer, and continue cooking gently until kale is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the silken tofu cubes to heat through. Add reserved chopped spring onion greens when serving.
Notes. The salmon can be left out for a simpler vegetarian version. Any tofu may be used but I prefer the silken variety for this soup.
Farewell to our friend Piers, artist, sailor, adventurer.