Creamed greens were always comfort food, but now they don't need the steak on the side. Pierce's recipe tests the limits of how much umami you can use to gird a single dish, and is just as good next to roast beef or turkey for the holidays as it is at a low-key wintry dinner party, or a quiet night alone with a couple glasses of sturdy red wine. Adapted slightly from Oregon Live (January, 2012). —Genius Recipes
4 as a side
unsalted butter, divided, plus more as needed
large shallot, thinly sliced
cloves garlic, thinly sliced
lacinato kale, stems removed, roughly chopped (you should have 4 to 6 cups packed kale)
shimeji mushrooms with stems, or shiitake mushroom tops
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 color, 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 more 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 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). Place the kale on a warm platter and scatter the mushrooms over the top. Serve immediately.
Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore.