Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Spring Grill: Baby Bok Choy and Spring Radish Salad

We enjoyed quite the long holiday weekend of grilled foods.
There was an evening of grilled jalapeno bratwurst with naturally fermented sauerkraut... an evening with friends and a bit of (heavenly) jerk marinated grilled pork... and we also served up some exceedingly delicious BBQ grilled chicken.

Interestingly enough, one of the most rewarding dishes of the weekend was a salad.

We were thrilled on Saturday when we visited the farmer's market and found that our favorite farmers from JenEhr Family Farm were back in action. We were also lucky enough to find that they were hocking some painfully fresh baby bok choy and some nearly perfect spring radishes. Rather than settling for an ordinary stir fry, we decided upon something a bit more unusual. You've heard of grilled Caesar salad, no? Seems to be a trend these days... and it inspired us to do a bit MORE with our bok choy.

We took those gorgeous green, tightly grown, stalks... and tossed them with a bit of our favorite everday olive oil.
We also took the radishes and gave them a similar treatment. They look so pretty... all shiney and pink, and just raring to be tossed onto the grill. Don't they?
Well, that's exactly what we did. We heated up our trusty old Weber with some natural charcoal. And we hauled all the greased up veggie goods outside.
We laid everything gently on the cleaned grates, and let them char for a bit.
After a nice quick flip, we saw the caramelization developing on those delicious little radishes.
And we watched as the tender leaves of the bok choy wrinkled and browned -- and the more resistant white flesh grew suspiciously tender (and fabulously sweet).
Once inside, we plated up the bok choy with its little radish buddies -- and drizzled the whole bit with a bit of balsamic vinegar dressing (a simple mix of olive oil, 3-year balsamic, and a bit of dijon mustard).
Honestly -- it was the most heavenly spring salad. The previously sharp radishes took on a more gentle personality. The caramelization gave everything a sweeter, more succulent flavor. And the balsamic brought everything back into focus -- marrying the still-crisp salad with a bit of sweet & sour romance.

This was the perfect accompaniment to a bit of grilled chicken. But, it would also be quite at home next to a bit of barbequed tempeh. Or some lovely barbequed tofu.

I only kicked myself a little bit for not trying a more Asian-inspired dressing. Something with a bit of ginger, maybe. Or some nice roasted sesame. That would have been close to perfect.

Oh, YUM.

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  1. Fascinating! Where did you come up with the idea to grill radishes? I'm really curious to know more about how this changed their flavor -- do tell! Lovely photos -- and, from the sounds of it, a lovely weekend!

  2. It's funny. We started roasting radishes in the oven a couple of years ago when we were inundated by the spring radish crops from our CSA. We were so sick of eating them dipped in salt and throwing them in salads. One day I just tossed them with olive oil and threw them in a roasting pan.

    As with other veg, roasting brings out a bit of sweetness in the radish, and dissipates any harsh bite. I figured if they were good roasted, they'd be even better grilled... and it was true! They like a little bit of the smoky flavor that comes with charcoal grilling. And they cook up relatively quickly, so they don't require much special attention.

    I'm thinking we're going to be grilling radishes again -- so I'm contemplating other creative summer applications for them.

  3. Hi, I just wanted to say that I LOVE the blog! It's great to see other Wisconsin people blogging! And by the way, thanks for the shout out before, take care.


  4. Never even seen radishes look like that! They're huge. Nice way to cook them up too.

  5. I love bok choy!! A brilliant idea to grill it.

  6. Wow, that looks absolutely amazing! This post just made me super excited to go to the farmer's market this weekend!

  7. Truly a wonderful spring salad with these unique grilled veggies! I would love to try it!

  8. I recently discovered grilled romaine and loved it. I can't wait to experiment with more veggies. This looks fabulous! I've never seen radishes like those before.

  9. Your grilling is driving me crazy! I want a new grill this summer so I can get in on the fun.

  10. I LOVE grilled bok choy. Now I'm thinking that should be the vegetable I use for dinner tonight!

  11. I buy those little pink radishes as pickles in Japan, but grilled sounds heavenly!!! You guys are so creative - always.


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