Last summer I learned that Swiss chard, like kale, can be eaten raw and is especially delicious with a lemony dressing and toasted garlic breadcrumbs.
You would think this revelation would have opened my mind and inspired experiments with other greens I had assigned to the cook-only category. It did somewhat — mustard greens and broccoli rabe, I learned, do well with that same treatment — but these discoveries were not enough to reform me completely.
On Sunday, for instance, my friend emailed me her “tried-and-true” bok choy salad recipe, and I couldn’t help but think: Shouldn’t bok choy be cooked?
It turns out bok choy makes an excellent salad, its crunchy stalks and sturdy leaves capable of enduring a bold, salty-sweet dressing. A slightly sweet dressing, in fact, is just what slightly bitter bok choy needs. My particular head of bok choy — the largest I had ever seen with tough greens begging to be braised and big, watery stalks — brightened under this assertive dressing. The whole salad, moreover, kept well in the fridge.
The most fun part about this recipe, however, is the sesame-almond crunch, a mix of melted sugar, toasted almonds and sesame seeds, that comes together in a flash and disappears about as quickly. Warning: Do not in an effort, say, to get a jumpstart on dinner make the crunch ahead of time. It will not, I promise, last five minutes.
When the sugar looks like this, add the almonds and sesame seeds:
The dressing is made in the same pan as the sesame-almond crunch:
Bok Choy Salad with Sesame-Almond Crunch
Yield 2 servings
Source: Charlene from Table of Gratitude My bok choy was really dirty, so I cut off the very end, separated the leaves, chopped them into ½-inch pieces and let them soak in a bowl of cold water till the dirt settled. Some of the pieces were still dirty and required some rubbing.
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup sugar
- ⅓ cup sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt or 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup grapeseed or olive oil
- 1 to 2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice plus more to taste
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1½ pounds bok choy
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread slivered almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until golden brown. Set aside.
- Sprinkle the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a large sauté pan set over medium heat. The moment the sugar is completely liquefied, add the almonds, sesame seeds, and sea salt, stirring until evenly distributed. Do this quickly, so that the mixture does not burn. Immediately transfer nut mixture to a plate and let cool.
- In a small bowl, stir together the grapeseed oil, 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil, vinegar, orange juice, sugar, and salt.
- Meanwhile, slice the bok choy crosswise into ½-inch pieces. Bits of dirt can lodge themselves in the greens’ numerous crevices, so thoroughly wash and dry the greens after you’ve chopped them. Place bok choy in a large bowl, and toss with some of the dressing. Taste; add more dressing if desired. Add the scallions and nut mixture to the bowl and toss well.
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