Real Food: Baby, you've just got to try bok choy

By: Joanne Neft, Special to the Journal
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During the past two weeks I’ve been reading “The Amen Solution, the Secret to being Thinner, Smarter, Happier.” In the third chapter, “Eat Right to Think Right and Keep Track of What You Eat,” Dr. Amen lists the 50 best brain-healthy foods. Bok choy is on the list. Bok choy, traditionally a Chinese vegetable, belongs to the cabbage family, the cruciferous group of foods which includes broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach. One cup of bok choy contains 63 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, 20 percent of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C, and only nine calories and virtually no fat. The most important benefit of boy choy is its cancer-fighting abilities. Glucosinolates, the property that gives bok choy and its cabbage members a slightly bitter taste, stimulate the production of enzymes that may help prevent many forms of cancers. This week’s recipe features bok choy with crispy shallots. A lot of people simply walk past the shallots at the market. They take a quick look, perhaps pick one up, then put it back and keep going. Shallots are a mystery for most cooks. Shallots are related to other garden vegetables such as onions, leeks and scallions as well as garlic and chives, the well-recognized herbs. Shallots form clusters of “cloves” in the ground, like garlic. Each clove is covered with a smooth, shiny brown paper-like skin. Their taste is almost always described as mild, although subtle is a better word. It’s a little like garlic, a little like a mild sweet spring onion. The texture is firm and crisp, and they can be lightly fragrant. Learn more about Joanne Neft and Laura Kenny’s “Placer County Real Food” project and cookbook at __________ Sautéed Baby Bok Choy with Crispy Shallots 1 cup grapeseed oil 2 shallots, thinly sliced 3 bunches baby bok choy, about 12 heads, quartered Salt and pepper to taste In a small saucepan, heat oil to about 350 degrees. Fry shallots until golden brown, remove from oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Heat a large skillet and add 2 tablespoons of oil that was used to fry shallots. Place quartered bok choy in skillet and sauté until tender crisp and slightly browned on all sides. Season with salt and pepper while still hot. Place on serving dish and top with crispy shallots. ~From “Placer County Real Food”