CSA Veggie of the Week: Bok Choy
Photo: Keith Weller/USDA Agricultural Research Service
Bok choy is hard to mistake for any other vegetable. It’s a leafy cabbage with thick white stalks that sprout up into large green leaves. Even baby bok choy look like miniatures of the regular varietal.
If you’ve never tasted this vegetable, its flavors are subtle with slightly less crunch than celery and many fewer teeth-catching strings. “Unlike so many leafy greens, bok choy doesn’t shrink down to nothing when cooked,” notes a Cooks Illustrated how-to about it. “When cooked fully [it] becomes creamy, with an almost meat-like texture and an underlying sweetness. In contrast, the leaves become tender and soft, having an earthy, robust flavor similar to that of chard or even spinach.”
So what’s the best way to cook it? Fair or not, in my head, bok choy is synonymous with stir-fry. In fact, most dishes this vegetable evokes are of Asian origin. Given the leafy green’s origin itself—it is one of dozens of Chinese cabbages—it makes sense. And it’s not a bad thing in the least.
Start by prepping the cabbage. Cut off the bottom and then separate the leaves from the stalks. Wash everything and let it all air dry or, if you’re crunched for time, pat it dry with a paper towel. Cooks Illustrated recommends sautéing the stalks first, for about five minutes, then throwing in the leaves for another minute or so until they wilt. From there, add your sauce. (For another option, CI also suggested braising the vegetable.)
One storage tip, from Real Simple magazine: “Refrigerate bok choy unwashed (moisture speeds decay) and loosely wrapped in the vegetable compartment.” This will help it last for up to three days.
Since today’s Friday and also the start to a long weekend, I’ll keep the post short and sweet. Here are six recipes for testing out this weekend. Enjoy!
Chicken Fried Rice with Bok Choy, Martha Stewart
Salmon With Bok Choy and Apple Slaw, Real Simple
Braised Baby Bok Choy, Gourmet
Spicy Shrimp and Bok Choy Noodle Bowl, Rachael Ray/Food Network
Best Bok Choy, Guy Fieri/Food Network
There was also a Seared Bok Choy with Bacon Vinaigrette from MarkBittman.com that looked great, but the site wasn’t working when I tried to get the link. Drop the phrase into search and you should find it no problem.
Next week will be my final CSA-related post, since our farm share has just about come to an end for the season. Check back for a list of all the recipes shared, found, and tasted during the past 15 weeks.!--/end tags-->