I went to our local farmers’ market this last weekend. Spring is just now beginning to ease into summer here, so the choices in the stalls at the market have been relatively few. Next week the vendors will move from their winter locations to their summer spots. That means that this week they began to offer the first of their usual summer bounty. There was some asparagus, a few root vegetables that had been wintered over, and a lot of greens and lettuces. One farmer was offering some succulent baby bok choy. Several vendors had baskets overflowing with garlic and shallot scapes. Garlic has become a very popular local crop, but farmers need to trim off the tops with the flower buds to encourage fuller garlic bulbs. These tops are called scapes. I wrote about cooking with them last year (June 20, 2015) – a garlic scape frittata. This past weekend I was pleased to find the scapes, as the “season” for them lasts at most two or three weeks. I wasn’t sure exactly what I would do with them, and then I thought of those bok choy and what a good combination the two would make. They turned out to be perfect accompaniment to butter-fried salmon. This is a vegetarian dish and can easily be made vegan by omitting the butter or substituting vegetable oil.
Braised Baby Bok Choy and Garlic Scapes
- 2-4 baby bok choy
- 1-2 good handfuls of garlic scapes
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons butter
- sesame oil to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
- Trim any roots from the bok choy and discard. Cut leaves off of the bulbs and set aside to be braised at the last minute. Cut garlic scapes into pieces sized to your preference.
- Add the bok choy bulbs and garlic scapes to boiling vegetable stock in a small braising pan or saucepan with tight-fitting lid. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until the bok choy is pierced easily with a kitchen fork. Add the greens and cover. Cook for an additional 2 minutes or until the greens are completely wilted.
- Season with a dash or two of sesame oil. Remember, it is easy to overdo sesame oil.
- Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Drain and serve immediately. Plate the greens and arrange the bulbs and then the scapes on top. Serves 2-4 persons depending on how many bok choy you braise.