Sauteed Baby Bok Choy with Rice Wine Vinegar

I bought baby bok choy at the local farm stand with no clear idea of what I was going to do with it. I had a vague idea for a stir fry with a bunch of other things to fill out the dish. Instead I ended up using it as stand alone side dish at our Saturday weekly night dinner. I knew I wanted something more than just greens braised with garlic so I turned to the pantry for something different. The bottles of vinegar caught my eye and I went from there.

Bok Choy is a type of Chinese cabbage.

Sauteed Baby Bok Choy with Rice Wine Vinegar
Servings: 6-8
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 1.5 lbs. baby bok choy
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. rice wine vinegar

Directions:

  1. Trim the bottoms and then quarter the base of the bok choy. You can tear the leaves off as well if you like. Rinse well and then spin in a salad spinner until dry.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the bok choy and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes until the greens have reduced in volume.
  3. Stir or toss the bok choy in the pan. Add chile flakes and vinegar; recover. Cook for an 3 minutes, stir or toss and then cook uncovered until the bok choy is cooked to your likeness.

Notes:
Full size bok choy could certainly be used in this dish. You’ll want to cut the stems into 2″ by 1/2″ strips to mimic the size of the baby bok choy stems.

Chimichurri

Chimichurri is a bright green sauce with a heavy punch of garlic. It originates from Argentina and is great along side grilled meats of all varieties. The garlic, and small amount of red pepper flakes, give it a bit of heat on the tongue as well.

This is best if you make it about 30 minutes ahead so that the flavors can meld. Don’t bother refrigerating if you plan to use it within an hour.

Chimichurri
Servings: a generous cup of sauce
Prep time: less than 5 minutes
Total time: ~10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 lg. cloves garlic, peeled and quartered (about 1/8 cup of garlic)
  • 2 bunches fresh parsley, washed and dried, rough cut (stems and leaves)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 20 grinds coarse black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • juice from 1/4 lime

Directions:

  1. Add garlic and parsley to the bowl of a food processor. Process in 10 1-second pulses and scrape down the bowl.
  2. Add oil, vinegar and water to the bowl, process for an additional 5 1-second pulses. Scrape down the bowl.
  3. Add salt, peppers, and lime juice. Process for 5 seconds. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Notes:
The bunches of parsley at my grocery store are kind of puny so I used 2. If you find (or grow) generous bunches of parsley then you’ll need less. Given that this is made in the food processor I used the stems as well as leaves. After cutting into about 3 sections each the 2 bunches totaled maybe 4 loose cups.

You could substitute a bunch of cilantro for one of the bunches of parsley.

We had leftover grilled chicken breast, chimichurri and sour dough left over. I think a chimichurri chicken salad might be in our future.

Based on this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated (May ’01). I’ve modified it for what I had on hand, and general laziness.

Sauteed Cauliflower with Pancetta

Growing up there were always 3 side dishes on the table for ‘holiday’ dinners. One was mashed potatoes; the other two were something green and then something not green. Two green side veggies was just not done. Salad didn’t count by the way. Don’t ask me why, it just didn’t.

As an adult I try not to have two green veggies as side dishes. Witness the traumas inflicted upon our childhood psyche without effort or intent. 🙂 Carrots get boring, yellow summer squash is for summer time and pureed butternut squash leaves me wanting something more. Today I turned to cauliflower; which I would normally roast. We were roasting asparagus though and I didn’t want all matchy-matchy side dishes. I never claimed my psyche was undamaged.

Sauteed Cauliflower with Pancetta
Servings: 8-10
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, core and leaves removed, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 6 oz. pancetta, 1/8″ dice
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt & cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. Place in a steamer basket set in a pot and fill with water to just below the basket. Bring water to a boil. Spread cauliflower around basket, sprinkle with salt and steam for 5 minutes. Cauliflower will still have a bit of give to it.
  2. While the cauliflower steams heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat with the diced pancetta in it. Cook for ~5 minutes until fat is rendered from the pancetta; the pancetta should be crispy. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pancetta to a paper towel lined dish and set aside.
  3. Add olive oil to the skillet to increase total fat to about 3 tablespoons. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Heat over low heat until garlic is fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add steamed cauliflower to the skillet. Toss to coat with oil. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring every minute or two.
  5. Check cauliflower for doneness. When done to your liking add the crisped pancetta, toss to combine and taste; add salt & pepper as desired.
  6. Transfer to a warmed bowl and serve.

Notes:
I used an orange hued cauliflower. Purple, green or even the original off-white would work just as well. Of course if you use green then you might end up with 2 green veggie side dishes. The horrors.

Bacon can be substituted for pancetta; just cut it into thin strips. You’ll likely get more fat from the bacon. Drain off all but 3 tablespoons before adding the cauliflower.

If the skillet becomes a bit dry while cooking the cauliflower you can add a tablespoon of water after stirring.