We're at the start of new produce season! In February, you can expect an abundance of asparagus, pears, brussels sprouts and our favorite....BOK CHOY in your markets.
Bok choy is a leafy green, cabbage-like vegetable that is a popular vegetable in Asian cuisine. It has a signature bulb on the bottom and loose, full leaves on top that can be kind of like spinach in their mild bitterness and wilt-ability. That bulb stays nicely firm enough to provide a great crunch. It's a quick cooking vegetable that makes for a quick and healthy side.
Bok choy contains vitamin C, an antioxidant known for fighting free radicals. It may help to reduce the risk of damage to your skin caused by the sun, smoke, and pollution. Vitamin C also plays a role in your body's natural collagen production and may help to fight signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles.
You don't want to eat this veggie raw - Like all cruciferous vegetables, bok choy contains an enzyme called myrosinase. Myrosinase can hinder thyroid function by preventing the body from absorbing iodine. Cooking deactivates it.
Here is a an easy, Italian take on bok choy that is one of my favorite ways to eat it. My Italian immigrant mother was in love with Asian cooking and even though she wasn't familiar with their techniques and flavors, developed her own style of cooking with Asian ingredients. This was one of the dishes she created.
tyle Bok Choy
4 bulbs of baby bok choy
16 oz cooked tomato sauce
1 clove garlic smashed
extra virgin olive oil
Set a large frying pan or shallow wok-style pan over medium heat. Add a healthy glug of extra virgin olive oil. Add the smashed garlic and let it warm up until fragrant. Add the bok choy and let it simmer in the olive oil until the leaves slightly start to wilt. Add the tomato sauce. Let it come to a bubble, then turn the heat to Medium/low and let it simmer together for 15-30 mins, depending on how soft you want your bok choy. I give it a poke with a knife at around the 20 minute mark. If its tender, I turn off the heat and pour the entire pan into a serving bowl. Portion it out or eat it all yourself! Don't forget to sop up the sauce with bread!