Farmer’s Market! Each spring I wait in anticipation for the first farmer’s market shopping day of the season. Here in Edmond that is usually sometime in April. Last Saturday I decided to venture out a bit and buy something different. At one of my favorite vendors I picked up a large head of pak choi (same as bok choi – not sure why it’s called both!) and some collard greens. Collard greens I’m familiar with but the pak choi was new. Since I wasn’t quite sure how to prepare it I turned to one of my favorite activities – googling! I read about several methods and finally decided to combine a couple of suggestions.
Before I share how I prepared the pak choi here are some reasons why you might wish to include this yummy spring green. Pak choi is in the cruciferous family which is believed to have anti-cancer properties and cholesterol lowering chemicals (plant). It’s a good source of vitamins A, C (anti-oxidant) and K (bone health) as well as B-complex. It contains several minerals as well that are vital for our health. There are some compounds that can help with eye health as well. Besides that it tastes delicious, as my husband and I discovered! These greens are sweet, unlike collards, kale and mustard greens.
When I purchased this big stalk of pak choi it seemed like there would be a lot of waste. The ribs of this plant are quite large. The lady I purchased from told me the stalks can be used like celery for salads or stir fried – really anything you might use celery for. The leaves can be chopped or torn for salad especially if the plant is young and tender. They can also be added to soup during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Stir frying the leaves is also an option. Pretty versatile!
Here is how I used my pak choi. The first night I used my wooden cutting board and chef’s knife to separate the stalks, after thoroughly rinsing. Some stalks were chopped up and put into our salad and some went into the refrigerator for another time. The next night I stacked all of the leaves and cut them across into 1 inch ribbons. Then I cut them from the other direction, again in 1 inch sections. What they ended up looking like was a bunch of green square patches, well, sort of. Then I simply heated a mix of butter and olive oil in a pan and sautéed on medium heat until wilted and tender. Probably around 5 – 10 minutes. We added salt and pepper. Napa Valley’s grand reserve balsamic vinegar would have been a delicious option – if I’d had any! But it was tasty anyway and we didn’t have any trouble finishing the entire large head. Sautéing onion and garlic before adding the pak choi would have been nice but these days I often go for the easiest option.
If you’ve used pak (bok) choi how do you like it?
- 1 head of pak choi – thoroughly rinsed and chopped or torn into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 – 1 T Butter
- 1/2 – 1 T Olive Oil
- Redmond or Celtic sea salt
- Napa Valley Grand Reserve Balsamic vinegar (opt)
- Heat butter and olive oil in large skillet.
- Add pak choi to the skillet.
- Saute, using tongs to turn over frequently, about 5 – 10 minutes.
- Place on plates and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add a dash of balsamic vinegar, if desired.