Last night we ate salmon, as we often do. It’s easy and versatile but lately I’ve been finding myself a bit bored when faced with a glossy pink slab of it. I tend to get most excited about the things that go with it, and lately I’ve been liking it with intense vegetables, the kind that announce themselves with a smack to your mouth, oozing vitamins. Vegetables like kale, the head of the intense-vegetable class, superfood of superfoods. But having made an approximation of this Martha recipe during the week, pasta with braised kale, bacon and fontina (do it!) I didn’t want the leaves just hanging out on the plate, gently wilted but otherwise as mellow as kale gets. No. I wanted to supercharge the sucker. Kale pesto.
Given the boyfriend’s nut sensitivity I had to adapt the various versions I found online, which tended to involve walnuts or pine nuts. And I also had a big bunch of cilantro/coriander to use up. So, here’s what ended up in the blender.
Cook half a big bunch of kale, tough stalks removed, in a covered pan in a little water to half-boil half-steam, for 10 minutes or so. While that’s cooking, mince three cloves of garlic. Throw the cooked kale into a food processor or blender with a generous handful of cilantro/coriander leaves, the juice of half a lemon, about a tablespoon of olive oil and two tablespoons grated Parmesan. Whizz into a bright green paste that’ll revive your spirits and reassure you about the continued existence of spring. Season, and adjust the flavours to taste – this is definitely a feel-as-you-go kind of thing.
I served up the blitzed kale (kale pesto? Kalesto?) on salmon baked in the oven in foil for twenty minutes, with cauliflower florets that I tossed in olive oil and salt and roasted alongside the fish. Finally, a red sauce to go with the green was simply a punnet of grape tomatoes cooked in a small, lidded pan for a few minutes until they burst out of their skins and metamorphosed into a sweet salsa (you could do this with bigger cherry tomatoes, but probably best to cut them in half first.) The result was a pretty good mix, I think, the lightness of the salmon and cauliflower nicely kicked up by the traffic-light sauces. Idea to execution: about 45 minutes.