Serving vegetables in its whole form is kind of a new concept for me. Like it was a rule that you had to chop everything into a bite-sized piece. Every time. I didn’t realize how seriously I believed in this rule until one night I watched my sister-in-law, Stacey, confidently cut the chard leaves ONLY in half and I was stunned. Honestly, in that moment, she simplified my life in a meaningful way. I had never even considered that I did not have to dice it, chop it, chiffonade or otherwise. Why was I adding all this time to food prep? The result – a whole cooked vegetable on the plate – is a sophisticated and natural presentation. It also seems to retain more moisture and flavor.
As for bok choy, my standard operating procedure was to chop its stalks and leaves vigorously and add it to a stir fry. Then last month a restaurant in, of all places, the lobby of a Hilton Garden Inn (I kid you not) offered grilled sesame salmon with whole sautéed bunches of bok choy. It was California after all. Again, I was stunned for a couple of reasons. First, wow, are they really getting things right at Hilton Garden Inn! Second, I don’t have to spend time chopping up bok choy either!
What you need:
- Bok choy, whole bunches…that I can’t resist cutting at least in half length-wise
- Sesame oil
Sauté bok choy halves in sesame oil over medium-high heat. Turning them gently to coat with the oil. Sprinkle with salt. When the pan is hot and steamy, cover with a lid and cook for 2 mins. Then turn the bok choy, cover again and cook for another 2 minutes.
Bok choy will be softened but still slightly crunchy at the largest parts of the stalk. Delightful.