In my exploration of seasonable produce from my local Farmer’s Market, I finally came across one veggie that I thought I knew how to use: baby bok choy. My mom used to put it in a salad made with (this is true) raw Top Ramen noodles and some kind of vinaigrette (it was a recipe from when my great-grandparents lived in Hawaii), and besides, I’d seen it in stir-fries and things at restaurants. Ha! I thought. Bok choy, you are not my nemesis. But then I took it home and realized that, much like a Christmas puppy, it deserved more love than I was prepared to give it. I had no actual recipes for baby bok choy.
Because here’s the thing about bok choy–while you can hide it in a stir-fry (plenty of places do), this leafy green has its own unique, spicy sort of flavor that really deserves more than just being drowned in a Swimming Rama. So I went hunting for recipes for bok choy that would allow it to shine, and really be the star. Here are three ways to prepare bok choy that suit it better than simply covering it with sauce and calling it a day.
You can braise it
Probably the easiest/most obvious way to use bok choy on its own is to lightly braise or wilt it in some water or broth, and then serve it drizzled with some sort of sauce. It’s super easy to do, takes less time than asparagus, and is a yummy, simple side dish for any summertime meal.
This recipe from Alicia Silverstone‘s The Kind Diet was especially appealing to me, because it used a vinaigrette, much like my mom used to do! Except it didn’t have crunch ramen noodles. I may add some the next time I make it, for old times’ sake.
You can roast it
Because bok choy is so tender and densely packed in the middle, it’s a great candidate for a tiny amount of time in the over. Again, letting its own flavor stand out is important, so adding just a small amount of glaze is essential. Then, into the oven it goes for a tasty, crispy, tender, fresh seasonal side. Eating Well has the best recipe I’ve seen, and leaves plenty of space for experimentation.
You can even grill it.
Yeah. That’s right. This weekend, you can buy some heads of baby bok choy and pop them on the grill. ON THE GRILL. All you have to do is make a tasty sauce for it, coat the whole head, and bam! Onto the grill. Thanks so much to (who else?) Martha Stewart for turning me on to this amazingly fresh and tasty-looking summer idea.
So there you have it. Three ways to use baby bok choy