Have you met bok choy? If not, get yourself to the nearest supermarket posthaste, and snap up a bundle. Slightly sweet and grassy in flavor, the Chinese cabbage takes well to a host of flavors, but easily my favorite way to prepare it is conveniently simple, without sacrificing a lick of flavor.
While there are many reasons to love this weeknight-friendly side — it's affordable, easy, quick as all get out, and, most importantly, delicious — what I love most is how such simple ingredients translate into a dish far more exciting than one would assume on the outset. Little more goes into this loose recipe of sorts than the vegetable at hand, oyster sauce (a magical ingredient if there ever was one), sriracha, soy sauce, and sesame seeds, but a quick turn in a screaming-hot cast-iron takes it to the next level by imparting an essence similar to wok hei, a wok-imbued flavor prized in Chinese cuisine.
What are you waiting for? Make the simple yet satisfying side tonight — just please trust that a hard-sear on the bok choy is imperative!
From Nicole Perry, YumSugar
Spicy Bok Choy With Sesame Seeds
Oyster sauce and sriracha can be found in the international aisle of most supermarkets.
4 heads baby or regular bok choy, split in half lengthwise
1/3 cup oyster sauce
1 tablespoon sriracha
Neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
Soy sauce to taste
Sesame seeds, toasted (optional), for garnish
- Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until it smokes. Meanwhile, whisk together the oyster sauce and sriracha, and brush about 1/3 of the sauce onto the cut side of the bok choy halves.
- Swirl just enough oil in the pan to coat the bottom and sear the bok choy, cut-side down, for about 2 minutes or until lightly charred. While the bok choy sears, brush the exposed side with another 1/3 of the sauce. Flip the bok choy, and sear the rounded sides for another 1-2 minutes.
- Remove the bok choy from the heat, and arrange the halves on a platter (or individual plates). Thin out the remaining sauce with enough soy sauce to make it thin enough to drizzle; drizzle the sauce over the bok choy, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.