At The Market

A weekly look at produce at local farmers markets

By Alandra Johnson / The Bulletin

What: Baby bok choy

Season: Year-round

About: For some reason bok choy intimidates me. I love eating it prepared in Chinese dishes, but I had never really had the guts to tackle it in my own kitchen. All that changed when I first encountered baby bok choy. It's just like the full-size version, except scaled down. The smaller size — baby bok choy is typically about 4 to 7 inches in length — felt more comfortable and like less of a commitment to me. It comes in a few varieties, but typically resembles celery stalks with wider leaves at the top. It is crunchy, crisp and refreshing with a mild flavor. You can eat the stalks as well as the green leaves.

Preparation: While I had always encountered bok choy in cooked dishes, I was excited to learn how great it is raw. Before eating, separate the stalks and rinse well. Dirt can get in between the layers of leaves. I sliced the bok choy very finely and added it to a salad. It also went well in a homemade fresh spring roll, along with shrimp, cilantro and green onion. Of course, bok choy is also excellent cooked. You can saute it as you would chard or another leafy green. Just a few minutes in a pan along with some garlic and oil will do this vegetable right. You can also cut the bok choy in half (or quarters if dealing with the full size), toss or spray with a little olive oil and place it on the grill. The charred flavor is delicious.