With 2 weeks before my next CSA pick up I ran out of produce. While I try to eat locally and in season I found myself incapable of putting root vegetables in my cart. Instead I came home with four beautiful little baby bok choy with no plans for how to prepare them. Most recently I used bok choy to make this dish. Sebastian loved it but I found it a little boring, and I refuse to be swayed by the fickle tastes of a 7 year old.
So now I had 4 baby bok choy in my kitchen and no plans. So how could I make bok choy sexy and exciting? I don't often have bok choy as my CSA does not grow any. I heard a rumor that the first season they were open the only crop that grew reliably was bok choy. Every week their members would show up for pick up to be faced once again by tables of bok choy. If that is the case, I suspect I will never have any from our farm, which is a real shame as the way I prepared it was easy and yet had a complex satisfying flavor. So now I have added bok choy to the plants I want to grow this summer. A list that is far larger then the space I have available.
Part of the beauty of this recipe is the contrast between the leaves and the stalk. The stalk becomes tender and supple while the leaves become concentrated and earthy. Of course the mix of asian seasonings also brings out and highlights the overall flavors (which for bok choy can honestly be bland without the right seasoning). The original recipe calls for fresh ginger, however I rarely have any in the house. I usually use dried ginger, using half the quantity called for. This does not make enough of a negative impact for me to care, or more to the point enough to make me run out the store with 2 boys. I also subbed extra virgin olive oil for the peanut oil. With so many children having a life threatening allergy to peanuts I feel safer not having peanut oil all over my kitchen from cooking and eating.
The recipe comes from This vegetable cookbook. It is a handy basic reference for folks beginning with a CSA and/or trying to cook more seasonally. All the vegetables are presented in alphabetical order with information on storage and preparation and a modest number of recipes. The recipes are all straight forward and easy to follow. Although I did promise Sebastian I would never make the boiled carrots with North African Spices again.
Sesame - Glazed Baby Bok Choy
adapted slightly from Jack Bishops Vegetables Every Day
1 1/2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
4 baby bok choy (each approximately 3 - 4 ounces, total weight around 1 Lb) halved lengthwise through the bulb
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried powdered ginger (or 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger)
2 medium scallions, chopped small
In a small bowl mix the vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar. Set aside until needed.
In a large nonstick skillet toast the sesame seeds over medium heat until golden and fragrant. About 3 minutes, when done transfer to a small bowl.
Turn the heat under the non stick skillet to high and add 1 1/2 Tbsp EVOO or grapeseed oil. Briefly heat the oil until shimmering and then add the bok choy, cut side down, in a single crowded layer. Sauté until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. turn the bok choy over and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Transfer the bok choy to a serving dish.
Heat the last 1/2 Tbsp oil in the skillet and add the garlic, ginger and scallions and sauté until they are fragrant (30 to 60 seconds). Add the vinegar/soy sauce mixture and simmer until the mixture is thickened (30 to 60 seconds). Add the bok choy back to the pan, cut side down, and cook until coated with the glaze, 15 to 30 seconds. Turn the peices over and cook for 15 to 30 seconds more. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with the reserved sesame seeds and serve.