Posted by on Jul 1, 2006 in food | 6 comments

This week I got my share a wee bit late, so I was unable to ask my farmer Susie Kyle to identify items. The above item I identified as Chard plain simple everyday chard. Oops. My mistake. It is called Pak-Choi or to the average joe, Bok Choy. Typically used in Chow Mein.

I am also participating in the #39 Weekend Herb Blog over at Kayln’s Kitchen. It is where people post recipes and other things about herbs, veggies, plants, or flowers.

Storage: Place in Plastic Bag. Use within 2-5 days. The Chinese are known to dip the leaves in boiling water and hang to dry for storage through the winter.

Uses: It has a nice mustard flavor to add to many dishes. Stir-fried, boiled, steamed or in soups, noodle and meat dishes, salads for young leaves, and pickling for larger coarser leaves.

Flavor enhancers: ginger, hoisen sauce and soy sauce

Health note: When cooked, Pak-choi has 20 calories and 144% of dv of vitamin A and 74% of dv of vitamin C.

Safety note: Don’t cook cabbage in an aluminum pot, which causes a chemical reaction and alters color and flavor.

I wanted to do something interesting this time break this stereotyped veggie out of it’s Chinese take out box. Can I make it more European? Why not? My veggie encyclopedia stated that its name translates into English as Chinese celery cabbage. This must be because the stalk looks like celery and its part of the cabbage family. This brought up memories of a creamy smooth celery gratin and I decided right there to make up a Pak-Choi gratin.

I doubt that soy sauce would go well in the gratin but salt and some ginger to spice things up.

Below is my very first recipe that has detailed info. My in-laws dropped by today (no the norm…they live about 7 hours away). We had left over meat dishes and this uniquely flavored delicious gratin. Everyone one loved the flavor.

Pak-Choi Gratin

Serves 4-6 as a side dish
Prep time: 30-40 min
Total time: 55 min – 1 hr 5 min

3 Tablespoons butter

3 garlic gloves (minced or grated finely)

1 shallot (minced or grated finely)

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions

12 oz Pak-Choi, stems cut off and sliced, leaves cut into thin ribbons

1/8 cup water

3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup whole milk

1/4 cup white wine

1 teaspoon or to taste fresh grated ginger

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoon sambal oelek (asian hot chili sauce)

1/4 cup matzo meal

1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs (bread crumbs with salt, pepper, oregano, thyme)

1. Heat oven to 400 F. Sauté in frying pan on Medium-High with lid 1 Tablespoon butter, garlic, shallot, and red onions until fragrant, stirring. Add Pak-Choi stems, stirring occasionally 6 min.

2. Add leaves and lower temp to medium-low after about a minute add water and cover till wilty and bright green about 4 min. Remove from heat and place in 1 qt baking dish. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese over veggies.

3. In Medium saucepan on medium heat, add cream, milk, wine, ginger, salt and pepper, sambal oelek stirring 5-10 min till you can smell ginger and the edges are starting to bubble. Pout over contents of baking dish.

4. In a small bowl, cut 2 tablespoons butter into remaining cheese, matzo, and bread crumbs. Spread over the top of the mixture. (If you would like a crunchier top add before turning on broiler.)

5. Place in oven on middle rack for 20 min. Turn broiler on till brown about 2 min or less.