After what has been such a splendid Christmas and New Year I am most certainly feeling the effects of my excesses. Not that I have gone crazy, but I wish to reinstate a wider balance of foods that feel alive, vital and fresh - and to cut right down on saturated fat content, whilst upping intake of Omega 3s and 6s. There are many cuisines that naturally lend themselves to this eating ideology; Japanese being the foremost in my mind (Thai, Vietnamese, Malayasian also other great examples), as the Japanese diet as we all know includes a great deal of fish, vegetables, soya protein, green tea and many delicious broths.
As I was in Borough yesterday to wish some suppliers a Happy New Year, I happened across a box of sea kale at Tony Booth's. I have to admit I hadn't really cooked sea kale before, and was intruiged to both cook it and taste it properly, as it had been some time since I had eaten it. I decided to create a dish around the sea kale - a dish that was light, with the essence of the sea. Naturally I needed some seafood, and a few handfuls of Palourde clams seemed like a perfect compliment to the delicate flavours of the sea kale. Keeping in a Japanese flavour tradition - the base of the dish would be a miso broth, given extra depth of flavour with an added piece of Kombu seaweed. The dish was finished with some very finely chopped spring onions and a sprinkling of Arame seaweed.
400g Palourde or Venus Clams
6/8 stalks of Sea Kale
A good splash of Sake to steam open the clams (I used Vermouth..you can use white wine)
1 packet of Miso broth or a generous teaspoon of Miso paste mixed with 300ml of Dashi
1 piece of Kombu seaweed
3 Spring Onions
Zest and the a squeeze of half a Lemon
Arame seaweed to garnish
Firstly blanched the sea kale in salted water for three to four minutes until tender. Refresh in ice cold water to keep the green and pat dry on kitchen paper. Make the miso soup - I used a packet (not the best I know), but a fresh miso broth is best made with miso paste, mixed with Dashi and Wakame. To my miso I added the dried Kombu and let it steep for 5/6 minutes before removing. Keep the broth warm - but don't let it boil and check the seasoning, adding some good soy if need be. Next steam open the clams with the Sake or Vermouth and the lemon zest in a hot pan, clamping down the lid until they are all open. Discard any that haven't opened. Sieve the liquor from the clams into the miso broth and plunge the kale into it too, to warm it through. To serve, layer the sea kale in a deep bowl and pile over the clams. Pour over the broth and garnish with the spring onions, arame and a light squeeze of lemon juice to add a sparkle to the flavours. To make this a little more substantial, I would add some beautiful cubes of fresh tofu that are one of the best sources of protein and iron, (as well as also being low in calories).