So, I was planning on some belgian endives, or some escarole, or maybe a bunch or two of chard to braise for a side dish for supper. I wanted something that would be nice with a little broth, nutmeg, and a bit of maybe bacon, to cook down until buttery and fork tender, liquid reduced to a glaze. Then I went shopping. I hit the Strip District on my lunch time, from work.
The belgian endives would have required a loan, and the the chard, kale and escarole at the veg stand were past it. I stumbled on these little guys while shopping for other things in the pan-asian market. I thought they'd be good, because I bought some in the past, for a chinese dish, and they were fresh and sweet. They seemed the right sort of thing for my very unasian braise , so I got them.
Aren't they pretty? I buttered a round earthenware baking dish (cazuela, truth be told), blanched my bokchoy until tender, squeezed out as much liquid as possible, and arranged them in this goofy, but practical flower shape. It is practical because the circumference of the circle is larger than the center, of course. So the whole thing is about the same depth, with the thinner leafy bits piled over one another in the middle. Right? Well, okay, I like the silly flower shape.
I poured on a bit of chicken stock, and added freshly grated nutmeg, salt, pepper, a squirt of lemon juice, some crumbled cooked bacon, and grated a little romano over. Into a hot 400F oven to reduce the stock and brown the top gently. This was a pretty good idea, all in all. Think I'll be making this one again.
I took this photo before braising, because I had company coming, and didn't want to stop to pull out the camera when they were here. Just this weekend, I had a bowl of carbonnade and a beer bottle out on the porch, trying to catch a little natural light, when a new neighbor walked right by, looking dubious. I've had enough food photo-related humiliation for a while. ( Who is that woman, and why is she always taking pictures of her dinner? ) Anyway, you can see the flower thing better this way. But when it's done, it has browned bits, it's a little caramelized, and even prettier. Very tasty.