While strolling through the grocery store, my wife turned to me and said, "Let's have cod and kale for dinner." She said it so assuredly, as if cod and kale were a combination people eat all the time. I teased her about it for the rest of the afternoon, until, that is, I looked it up at home. It's not exactly the most popular dish of all time, but there are a surprising number of recipes for the duo. Which meant that I had to apologize for being a jerk and make it. (That's fair.)
The most intriguing cooking method came from Mark Bittman, who recommends braising the kale until tender, and then steaming the cod right on top. Sounded awesome and simple, even if his mix of butter and wine wasn't exactly what I was after. But if the base method worked, couldn't I switch up some of the other components?
As you can imagine, it is both possible and very easy to do. Going with a more Asian approach, I added aromatic ginger and garlic, along with a good glug of soy sauce and sesame oil. The original had white wine, which I replaced with rice wine—this adds an important acidic element, so don't leave it out. The result is a basic, but genuinely satisfying, one-skillet dish.