Roasted Baby Bok Choy with Peanut-Sauced Noodles

Baby bok choy is an exciting find at the spring farmers’ market. I just couldn’t resist those adorable little heads, hence this simple, easy recipe that brings out the best in them. The greens turn out crispy like kale chips and the bottom parts are juicy and tender. I’m not giving you a recipe for noodles; you know what to do. Just boil up your favorite kind according to the package directions and add as much peanut sauce as you like. You’ll have sauce left over to use as a dip for your favorite veggies.

Ingredients for bok choy:

3 heads baby bok choy, about 1 pound
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp. avocado oil
1 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. mirin or sherry
Sesame seeds and chopped scallions or chives for garnish

Directions:

1. Slice the heads of bok choy in half lengthwise and wash them carefully, gently prying open the heads at the base and letting water run through them at the bottom to remove all the dirt but leaving the base intact. Drain them well.
2. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and move the shelf to the lowest position.
3. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil (or don’t) and spray it with nonstick cooking spray.
4. Place the bok choy in a plastic bag (an old cereal bag works well), add the avocado oil, and squish/shuffle the heads around until they’re evenly coated with oil. You could do this in a bowl instead, but then you’d have to wash it.
5. Place the bok choy halves on the sheet pan with the cut side down, scatter the garlic over them, and roast for 8 minutes. Then turn them over and roast for another 4 minutes.
6. While the bok choy is cooking, make the dressing by combining the soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, and mirin in a small bowl.
7. Remove the bok choy to a serving platter, cut sides up, and spoon the dressing over the cut sides.
8. Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced chives or scallions.

Peanut sauce:

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar (unseasoned)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
2 tsp. chili powder
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. hot sauce, more or less to taste
¼ cup water or more

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until very smooth, adding enough water to achieve the desired consistency.

Wendy Andresen lives in Camden with her husband, Ray; her Sheltie, Sunshine; and her bunny, Rustle. She welcomes responses to her column at wendyandrayzer@yahoo.com.

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