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Bok Choy Gratin

October 6, 2013

I’m finally back from vacation and it feels good to be back in my own kitchen cooking again! We had an amazing time in Paris though – so much delicious food and so many amazing sights to see! I tried foie gras and beef tartare for the first time, and of course I ate plenty of cheese and baguettes and croissants and macarons… but since portion sizes are smaller and we were walking pretty much everywhere, I didn’t feel weighed down by the richer foods.

My parents were generous enough to pick up our CSA bag and leave it at our house before picking us up from the airport, so we arrived home to plenty of vegetables. Among those was bok choy, which usually leaves me stumped. Like many Chinese greens, bok choy would initially make me think stir fry, but I didn’t have any other appropriate ingredients at the time. What I did have, however, was some leftover Gruyère cheese, so I decided to give this recipe in Gourmet Today a try. I only had enough bok choy to make half, but that was perfect for my small 1-quart gratin dish.

The gratin turned out really tasty! The nutty Gruyère was a nice complement to the bok choy, and the bread crumbs added crunch. However, I don’t think that I’d run out and buy more bok choy to make it again right away; the prep work used a lot of dishes. Between cooking the greens, frying the shallot, and making the cream sauce, it was a bit much for just a vegetable side dish. There isn’t really any work that can be done ahead of time either, because the breadcrumbs would get soggy. I could see making it for a dinner party, but not for a simple supper with just me and my husband.

Bok choy gratin

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
  • 2½ pounds bok choy, tough stem ends trimmed
  • Salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ cups whole milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup coarsely grated Gruyère
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Directions

  1. Put a rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Lightly butter 2-quart gratin dish (or other shallow baking dish) and dust with 2 tablespoons bread crumbs.
  2. Remove bok choy stems and center ribs and cut into ½-inch pieces; set aside. Coarsely chop leaves. Cook stems and ribs in a large pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt) until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add leaves and cook for 30 seconds. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle. Squeeze out excess water by handfuls.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add bok choy and cook, stirring, until greens are coated with butter and shallot, 1 to 2 minutes. Spread bok choy in gratin dish.
  4. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat. Add flour and cook, whisking, for 2 minutes to make a roux. Add milk in a slow stream, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil, whisking. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking, for 5 minutes. Add nutmeg, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper, then stir in Gruyère and 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano. Pour evenly over bok choy.
  5. Toss remaining ¼ cup bread crumbs with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano in a small bowl. Blend in remaining 2 tablespoons butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle mixture evenly over gratin.
  6. Bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve hot.

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