Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Complementing Leftovers

I like leftovers. Especially ones I have originally made. Even better if there is a large variety of diverse things.

We had some chicken and sausage gumbo, spicy prawns, chicken breasts in rosemary, roasted figs, humus, plus small amounts of an array of vegetables and starches. All neatly packed in plastic containers.

A scoop of this. A bit of that. Everything popped into the microwave. Dinner.

Every once in a while this is both enjoyable as well as necessary. To make room for more leftovers.

But this one needed a little help. Mainly in the vegetable department.

We had found some baby bok choy recently. Just a fraction of the size of a full grown behemoth bok choy cabbage. They look more like badminton birdies. Only green.

And I had been thinking about how to make them. I was tending towards a soup of some sort. Something with glass noodles and lots of ginger.

But, not wanting to start another new leftover on the ‘get rid of the leftovers’ dinner night, I went in a different direction.

I had pan roasted radicchio a number of times. As well as other lettuces. I just cut them in half, anoint them in some olive oil, and sautee them until browned.

I thought this treatment would work for the bok choy as well.

But I had ginger on my mind. And besides, one reason I seldom buy bok choy is everyone’s complaints about it lacking in flavor. So I was on a mission to add some flavor to this vegetable.

I figured the caramelization from frying would add some flavor.

And ginger. That was going in somehow as well. Plus garlic. Ginger and garlic would add a nice punch.

Everything sautéed in peanut oil. Just for that interesting nuance of flavor it imparts.

But I was still rooting through my cupboard and fridge for that last inspiration.

Soy? Too everyday. Hoisin, Oyster sauce? Too heavy. Mirin? Too sweet. Sesame oil? Too heavy.

Until I came upon my bottle of ponzu. I don’t know who invented this stuff. Sort of a light soy with citrus flavoring. But it is fantastic. As a marinade on salmon. In a salad dressing. As a component of a sauce in finishing a Chinese dish.

I could sprinkle it on steamed rice and be pretty happy about that.

So we created some ginger and garlic braised baby bok choy with ponzu. Light. Full of flavor. Energized by the ginger and ponzu. A nice fresh complement to a wonderfully diverse leftover dinner!

Ginger and Garlic Braised Baby Bok Choy with Ponzu
Recipe by surfindaave
Serves 4-6

8 baby bok choy
1 large knob fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp peanut oil
½ cup ponzu

Note – I made this in two batches so that the bok choy pieces could lay flat in the skillet.

Cut each bok choy in half lengthwise.

In a large skillet, heat the 2 tbsp peanut oil over medium heat. When oil is hot, add ½ of the ginger and ½ of the garlic, and sautee for 1-2 minutes, stirring. Increase heat to medium high. Place 8 pieces of bok choy, cut side down, in pan. Sprinkle with ¼ cup of the ponzu. Cover, and cook, undisturbed, until the bottoms of the bok choy have browned, 4-5 minutes. Carefully turn the pieces over, and cook uncovered until that side is browned. Remove to a plate. Repeat procedure with the remaining half of the ingredients. Serve. Enjoy!

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Blogger Brilynn said...

This is my first time reading your blog and I really enjoy your writing style, (particularly your last post about heirloom tomatoes).

I have only ever had ponzu sauce in restaurants, I haven't seen it on store shelves, but I think I need to do some more searching.

1:36 PM  
Blogger surfindaave said...

Brilynn - thanks! Appriciate the compliment!

We have a great Asian market near us, and I find more and more uses for things like ponzu.

4:25 PM  

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