Grilled bok choy: First, a little butchery

Grilled Baby Bok Choy With Miso Butter. (Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)
Food and Dining Editor May 20, 2014

If you can’t imagine why I would be so excited to finally have space for a grill again, you haven’t (yet) learned the pleasures of grilled cabbage, asparagus, mushrooms, chili peppers and more.

I grill for the same reasons meat eaters do: I love the flavors that result, and I love cooking outside, especially when the weather’s too hot to turn on the oven inside. Of course, it’s also relatively easy — although vegetables usually need as much prep as meats do, if not a little more.

Joe Yonan is the Food and Dining editor of The Washington Post and the author of "Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook." He writes the Food section's Weeknight Vegetarian column. View Archive

Take bok choy. Like its cousins cabbage and cauliflower, it tastes best when it loses extra water and caramelizes. But it’s really two vegetables in one, and to make it shine on the grill, you need to separate the crisp stalks from the tender leaves. I learned that from Laura B. Russell’s excellent new book “Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables” (Ten Speed Press, 2014). She cuts the leaves away from the stalks of baby bok choy, halves the stalks lengthwise, rubs them with a miso butter and grills them until browned. While still warm, they reunite with the shredded leaves on a serving plate, helping — along with lemon juice and oil — to barely wilt the leaves.

A little vegetable butchery can go a long way.

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