Let’s say you look up bok choy recipes, for example or recipes that use parsley, you’ll find a huge variety of course but many, if not most, will call for 2-4 cups of sliced bok choy or 2 tablespoons of parsley or maybe a full bunch if you land on tabbouleh. If you are a member of a CSA or have a vegetable garden or shop regularly at a farmers’ market these recipes, as written, may not do you much good.
If you get the CSA I do (and LOVE!) you may get 2 large heads of bok choy that would translate to 8 cups sliced, each, and 2 robust bunches of parsley. That’s how these things grow and are best distributed at certain weeks out of the year. Or cabbage, another perfect example… sauté a lot of cabbage in a huge skillet with nothing but olive oil and salt and then eat it and report back. I bet you can enjoy/devour a lot more cabbage (of any kind) than you might think in one sitting. Of course many of the vegetables, when cooked or dressed, reduce their volume several fold so you won’t necessarily be looking at a mountain of vegetables on your plate, though that’s never a bad thing for me!
I love eating vegetables in this quantity–it moves them to the center of the plate. And of course that’s how most health gurus suggest we eat but I don’t always see this reflected in recipe writing. It is changing and folks like Heidi Swanson of 101cookbooks.com and Yotam Ottolenghi and Bryant Terry and many others have been leading the way on this approach for a years actually.
So today, as I create yet one more recipe for bok choy (which I have come to love because of having a CSA for years) I will let it shine with a simple dressing and find something to round it out, but it matters not much–an egg, a bowl of rice. . . . And if you’re ever at a loss for what to do with that gorgeous bouquet of parsley I just noticed that I have 40 recipes using parsley on my Seasonal Recipe Collection.
So if you get a CSA or have a garden or generally have access to produce in this quantity, thank your lucky stars and triple the quantities of vegetable or herb often noted in recipes and enjoy all that veggie goodness at the center of the plate!
Warm Bok Choy with Ginger Dressing
1 large head bok choy or joi choy, well washed and both stems and leaves thinly sliced crosswise
2 teaspoons coconut, peanut or other oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2-3 garlic cloves, minced and mashed up a bit with the side of a chef’s knife with some salt, or pressed (the salt makes it easier to mash)
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
A little more salt if needed
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Heat the coconut oil in a wok or large skillet until very hot. Toss in the bok choy stems and a few pinches of salt. Cook over high heat, stirring regularly, for about 2-3 minutes until the stems are softened but still have some bite. Add the leaves and cook for 30 seconds more. Put the vegetables in a bowl and mix in the dressing. A fair amount of liquid (combination of dressing and liquid from vegetables) will accumulate in the bottom of the bowl and it’s delicious and rice soaks it up well!