Local Food

Published on April 7th, 2008 | by Jennie Love

16

Farm Fresh: Grilled Baby Bok Choy

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Baby bok choy

Farm Fresh is a series of recipes
designed to showcase produce gathered
from local farms or grown in my own garden.

It’s only April but I’m already thinking about breaking out my grill. My grill is, well, not something to really write home about, or, for that matter, to write a blog post about. I got it for about five bucks from some big box store a few years ago. But, when there are fresh young vegetables to be cooked up, it’s my weapon of choice. Nothing beats grilled asparagus, zucchini, eggplant, and peppers. Nothing, that is, except for Grilled Baby Bok Choy.

Grilled baby bok choy

You’ve never heard of grilled baby bok choy? Heck, never even heard of baby bok choy itself? Let me tell you, this is a truly unique inaugural dish for this year’s grilling season. For those of you in more temperate climates, baby bok choy is probably already on your local farmers market’s tables. For those in the Northeastern United States, like me, it’ll be coming along shortly with the start of asparagus season. I have the good fortune to grow it myself and love the looks of these delicate plants in the ground.

But they don’t just look good. These little cabbage relatives native to China are also very healthy, chocked full with Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and iron. When buying baby bok choy, which is often sold by the pound, look for full dark green leaves and light green tight bottoms. The tighter the bottoms, the easier it is to grill them since they hold their shape better.

Whether you have a tiny dusty charcoal Weber like me or a granddaddy of a gas grill, you’ll wish baby bok choy was in season all summer to accompany your grilled fish, asparagus or sweet corn. Sadly, since baby bok choy succumbs to summer’s heat, it won’t be around much past June.

grilling baby bok choy

Grilled Baby Bok Choy

You will need:
4 heads of baby bok choy
2 T. fresh squeezed lemon or orange juice
2/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (not minced)
2 T. fresh herbs of your choosing, such as dill or sage, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1 T. balsamic vinegar or low-sodium soy sauce
Handful of pine nuts or chopped walnuts
Romano cheese, grated

Directions:
Slice heads of baby bok choy in half length-wise (leaves to stem). Soak in cool water for 10 minutes to perk them up and remove any grit hidden inside. While heads soak, heat olive oil in small frying pan. Add thinly sliced garlic and stir until just golden brown (about 1 minute). With a slotted spoon, remove garlic to a paper towel and take pan off heat.

Take baby bok choy out of water and gently shake/pat dry. Slice off upper dark green parts of the leaves from the lighter heads. Coarsely chop leaves and set to the side. Brush both sides of heads with garlic-infused oil. Place with cut side up and sprinkle with lemon/orange juice, salt and pepper and herbs.

Place seasoned heads on pre-heated grill with cut side down. Cover grill for 5 to 8 minutes. Remove cover and turn heads over. There should be a nice golden color starting to appear. Drizzle balsamic vinegar or soy sauce over cut sides of heads. Cover again for 5 minutes.* Remove cover and turn heads one last time back to the cut side. Remove from grill when fork-tender.

*At this point, head to the stove and heat up the remaining oil in the small fry pan. When hot, add pine nuts or walnuts and toast slightly for a minute or two. Add chopped baby bok choy leaves and salt and pepper. Stir constantly until wilted, but still very green (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat and toss in fresh herbs if desired.

To plate up, put heads on plate and top with leaves, nuts and a sprinkle of cheese. Add more balsamic vinegar or soy sauce if desired.

(serves 4)



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About the Author

Originally hailing from a 350 acre farm in rural Pennsylvania, Jennie now works with farms on a smaller scale in the urban landscape of Philadelphia. On her way to becoming a Professional Gardener/Permaculturist, she's passionate about using urban agriculture as a way to initiate neighborhood revitalization and environmental education. Jennie uses her professional background in marketing and promotions to freelance as a writer, designer and web promotions specialist for sustinability enterprises. In short, this girl loves to see good things grow!



  • http://redgreenandblue.org Tim

    Jennie- That sounds excellent. Do you grow bok choy from seed? I’m interested in adding it to my garden perhaps.

  • http://expatriateskitchen.blogspot.com Beth Bader

    I love the main photo for this. Can’t wait to try the recipe!

  • http://straightfromthefarm.net Jennie Love

    Tim – I both start my seeds in the greenhouse around this time of the year and then direct seed another batch into the ground when I plant them in late summer for my fall crop. It might be pretty tricky to find transplants to buy. Growing them from seed is quite easy though so defintiely give them a try.

  • http://straightfromthefarm.net Jennie Love

    Thanks, Beth! I love that photo too and title it “Forest” on my flickr page. :)

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  • Billie Church

    Why don’t you have a link on your site to print the recipes? I wanted to print the grilled bok choy recipe and couldn’t find a link to print. Very disappointed!

  • Mary Paul

    WOW! I finally got my little “Smokey Joe” back out after two years- and now all I want to do is grill. I had this nice bunch of baby bok choy waiting to be fixed up and on a whim, googled “char grilled baby bok choy”- and found your great recipe. I didn’t have time to do the garlic infused oil, but used a little misto-typ spray bottle for the olive oil drizzle and some orange-pineapple juice. All I can say is, WOW!! what fantastic flavor.

    I appreciate the time guidelines, how long to cover, and all that good practical stuff. I put some fat slices of giant sweet onions on with right after the babies came off the grill. We are going to feast today!

    I buy my Asian greens at an Asian grocery store- good selection year round, but probably not as nice as from your own garden.

    Thanks again for the inspiration.

    Mary Beth

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  • http://www.wesbridges.com WesBri

    Great recipe. Since Fort Worth is a year round gilling climate, I’m always ready to go. Wanted to try a new bok choy recipe and found a keeper in this. I look forward to browsing the rest of your blog. Thanks for the outstanding recipe!

  • Ben

    Awesome! I just found this and I’m gonna start cooking it up right now. So glad it’s a grill recipe cause I’m tired of being in the kitchen!

    • Ben

      Really amazing recipe. This is going to be a regular in my kitchen. Thanks!

  • http://Web nancy

    We have been looking for a good bok recipe and THIS IS IT! It is the closest thing to The Yard House’s Baby Bok Choy. We tried it with the soy and with the vinegar and liked the soy best. Thanks for sharing!

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  • http://Web Carrie

    Ok, until had baby bok choy this way I thought it was utterly disgusting! We get toms of it in our CSA bags and so I’ve been determined to not let it go to waste… Thank goodness I ran across this recipe! Now I’m wishing we got MORE baby bok choy :). I could eat this allllll day!

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