so, this “recipe” has exactly two ingredients. they’re both in the name of the recipe. so there’s not a lot of mystery there. maybe we’ll just think of this as a technique, so that i can reassure myself that i’m providing value here…
which means it’s funny that this recipe/technique/whatever we’re calling it involves the grill, since at the beginning of each grilling season, i need a reminder from my husband on how to light the grill (dear weber: thank you for printing the instructions inside the door to the propane tank so that i can check them every time and pretend that i have mastered this ‘lighting of the grill’ wizardry.).
BUT! but. in my defense, i did adapt and perfect this grilled bok choy recipe/technique (once my husband told me how he usually cooks it).
and by “perfected the technique”… i mean i rotated the bok choy 90 degrees on the grill grates. i know, i’m a genius.
you’ll need to adapt this a little bit to align with your fire source but here’s what works best for our grill: we have a gas grill with 3 burners which run parallel to each other, front to back. 99% of the time, we turn the left and middle burner on to medium-high and leave the right burner off.
with this flame set up, we put our meat or whatever likes direct heat over on the far left and then put the bok choy on the grill so that the white base is over the center of the grill (direct heat) and the leafy green part is off to the far right (indirect heat). this set up allows the dense white stalk-y parts to get some good grill marks and actually cook without turning the delicate green leafy part into carbon dust.
i’ve cooked on some goofy grill set ups where the fire bars are going every which way, such that it’s more difficult to create distinct direct vs. indirect heat areas, but in general, just keep in mind the goal of having the white part of the bok choy get more heat than the green part and don’t be afraid to turn the bok choy at funny angles to make it happen.
and finally, a word of encouragement for grilled greens skeptics: last summer i came across a recipe for grilled romaine, which i was excited to try. and then really didn’t like. it was all of the bad things you would fear grilled lettuce would be (limp, mushy, charred).
maybe now that i’ve figured grilled bok choy out a bit more i should go back and try the grilled romaine again. oooor maybe i’ll just stick with bok choy, which gets crunchy-yet-cooked in the white parts and crispy in the green parts. yum.
either way, i guess i’m saying that if you happened to have tried grilled romaine and not liked it, i hear you, and also, please consider giving grilled bok choy a chance. and if you’re on board with grilled bok choy, high fives and now go figure out how you can get the flames and the bok choy to cooperate with each other on your particular grill!
- 1 large head of bok choy
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- preheat the grill to medium-high (300 – 400° F) with some direct and some indirect heat. our grill has 3 burners that run parallel to each other so we turn the left and middle ones on to medium-high and leave the right off.
- using a long, sharp knife, cut the bok choy down the middle the long way – do not cut off the base that holds the leaves together! hold the bok choy by the base, cut side up and leaves angled down and rinse the sandy grit out that collects between the leaves, being careful not to pull the leaves off. shake the excess water off.
- clean the grill grates (i never oil ours). set the bok choy on the grill with the white bases closest to the direct heat and the green leafy parts as far away from the direct heat as possible. for me, this means greens to the far right and white bases in the center.
- grill the bok choy on the first side for 7 – 8 minutes, until grill marks form on the white parts, then flip over and grill for another 7 – 8 minutes, until grill marks form on the white parts. by this time, the green leaves should be dry and crispy with some brown spots but they shouldn’t be burned.
- transfer to a serving platter, cut side up, and drizzle with sesame oil. serve immediately.