Pak Choi is one of my favorite cool season vegetables. Like many Asian greens, this little cabbage is a great addition to Southern gardens.
I have always been able to effortlessly grow beautiful pak choi in my fall gardens. But, when planted in the Spring, it sometimes gets shocked by our rollercoaster weather patterns. If there are too many hot days it bolts before fully maturing. That has been the case with my pak choi recently.
A few days ago, I needed a quick side dish to throw on the grill and had hoped to use something from the garden. Pak Choi is delicious grilled and was what I had in mind. So, I was frustrated when I realized ours were bolting and not possibly going to become grill worthy. I was ready to settle for sautéing them instead, when I turned and saw our gorgeous garlic scapes and conjured up this dish.
If you have never cooked with garlic scapes, you should. They are the green leaves of garlic plants. Their flavor is surprisingly sweet and when cooked they are very tender, making them a great contributor in many dishes. After making this dish, I have to add “structurally sound edible ribbon” to my list of garlic scape attributes.
I bundled up the scrawny pak choi and tied them together with the garlic scapes. Even though they are tender when cooked, scapes are strong and rigid enough to tie. I was concerned that they would come apart while cooking, but they held together beautifully. The imperfect pak choi leaves were tied up and turned into perfect “giftwrapped” grilling bundles.
Garlic scapes would probably work well to bind many other vegetables for grilling. Broccoli rabe, endive and kale would be ideal for this treatment. The only thing I might do differently next time is to use 2 garlic leaves and wrap them twice. The additional tying is not needed for structural reasons: the garlic scapes are just so delicious I want to eat twice as many.
- Pak choi or any other grilling greens, enough for 2-3 servings
- 6-10 garlic scapes, depending on their length
- 1 & 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 & 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt (I used Johnny’s Seasoning Salt)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 crushed clove of garlic
- Clean and trim pak choi.
- Carefully tie garlic scapes around the middle of the pak choi bundles with single knots, just tight enough to stay tied.
- Mix melted butter, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and seasoned salt.
- Grill on high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side. Brush with butter mixture while grilling. The outer edges of the leaves should be crispy and the stems should be nice and tender.
- Serve with a drizzle of soy sauce.
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