Friday, December 2, 2011

Shaved Fennel and Bok Choy Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette

Sometimes cooking is all about tradition and following certain rules about what ingredients classically belong together in a given type of cuisine. Other times, cooking is about what’s delicious and creating new combinations based solely on great flavor. What I like about Girl in the Kitchen, the new book by Stephanie Izard of which I received a review copy, is that it follows the latter approach. Izard, the first and only woman to win the Top Chef title, strives to balance a mix of flavors in every dish to “make your whole mouth happy.” So, you’ll find miso used in dishes that aren’t otherwise Asian-inspired, truffle oil mixed with poblanos in a vinaigrette, and shrimp cooked with sambal paste for a mango gazpacho. The book offers a fun approach to cooking in that it’s suggested to be used as a guide rather than strictly followed. She encourages you to think about what each ingredient brings to a dish so that if you want to make substitutions, you can choose something else that will work similarly. I’ve marked several pages of recipes I plan to try. Those include the crispy chickpea fritters with salsa verde, seared duck breasts a l’orange with braised duck spring rolls, roasted radishes with blue cheese peanuts and cilantro, and the miso-marcona almond butter for sauteed scallops. Last weekend, I wanted a salad with zippy flavor to wake up one more meal of leftover turkey, and the shaved fennel and bok choy salad with ginger vinaigrette fit the bill.

Although it’s called a salad, the thick dressing is intended to coat the vegetables like a slaw. The vinaigrette is an emulsion with Dijon mustard and an egg yolk, but the flavor is all about the ginger. An entire half cup of minced fresh ginger is used, and don’t be afraid. It mixes into the vinaigrette nicely, and once it’s incorporated with the fennel and bok choy, the flavor is perfect. The salad also has basil and cilantro, and delightfully, I actually have both of those herbs in my garden in the fall. My basil is on its last legs, but I had plenty for this use. Thinly sliced bok choy and fennel shaved on a Benriner were tossed with chopped cilantro and a chiffonade of basil. The dressing was made in a blender with minced ginger, shallot, Dijon mustard, white balsamic vinegar, an egg yolk, soy sauce, maple syrup, and grapeseed oil. Of course you can add whatever amount of dressing you prefer, but a generous coating was lovely here.

There’s freshness from the fennel, ginger, and herbs, but this is no deprivation salad. The dressing’s richness prevents that. Next time, I might turn this into a meal in itself by adding some crunchy cashews on top. Radishes might be nice too for added color. This book already has me thinking creatively about how to use it, and I can’t wait to spend more time with it.

Shaved Fennel and Bok Choy Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette
re-printed with publisher's permission from Girl in the Kitchen


print recipe

Serves 8

Ginger Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup minced peeled fresh ginger (about 3 ounces)
1/2 cup minced shallot
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 cup grapeseed (half vegetable, half olive oil)
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Salad:
1 fennel bulb
2 heads bok choy
2 tablespoons chiffonade of fresh basil
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. To make the vinaigrette: In a blender, combine the ginger, shallot, mustard, vinegar, yolk, soy sauce, and syrup. On low speed, slowly drizzle in the oil until the dressing is smooth and thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
2. To make the salad: Remove the stalks from the fennel, cut the bulb in half, and shave it thinly on a mandoline, shaving around the core.
3. Cut off the bottom couple inches at the base of the bok choy and discard. Be sure to wash off any dirt and fully dry the leaves. Pile a few leaves on top of each other at a time and cut them crosswise very thinly.
4. Put the fennel and bok choy in a salad bowl with the basil and cilantro and toss with the dressing. Add as much as you like; I prefer this salad to be heavily dressed, like a slaw. Season with salt and pepper.

Drink Tip: Wit beer is pronounced just like wheat beer, and technically it is the same, but these Belgian-style wheats have less of the clove and banana notes you’d get out of German hefeweizens and more clean citrus notes that line up perfectly with fennel and ginger.




25 comments:

  1. A fabulous salad! extremely flavorful and so original. Shaved fennel is amazing.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Lisa, thank you for posting the recipe! Bok choy and fennel are two of my favorite green things. :)

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  3. This looks delicious and from reading the ingredients list, it sounds full of flavour and yet well balanced too :)

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  4. This looks like a really interesting combination. For me, a little fennel goes a long way, but bring on the ginger!

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  5. Lisa I'm already inspired by this recipe and intrigued by what you've said about said about Izard's book. Playing with flavors is what interests me most in the kitchen and it sounds like Izard has a very unexpected approach. Yum!
    -E

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  6. I will have to try it! I love fennel but I usually don't add any herbs to it. Thanks!

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  7. I love Stephanie Izard. I've no doubt that her salad is delicious (although your gorgeous photos do a lot to support that statement). Can't wait to try this!

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  8. This is a salad that captures my heart.

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  9. I love ginger and would not be afraid to use a large amount - these ingredients together sound amazing!

    very creative recipe, will keep this cookbook in mind

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  10. Pairing the bold flavors of ginger, cilantro and basil are enticing. I have been on a bit of a ginger kick lately and plan to try my hand at making my own candied ginger for the holidays. This recipe will fit right into my plans for next week.

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  11. I must confess, much as I love cooked fennel, I've never cared for it raw. Odd of me, I know. However...this recipe might just turn me around. Fascinating list of ingredients AND your photos are very tempting!

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  12. That looks so good, I love fennel.

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  13. I've been on a ginger kick lately so this sounds delicious! I was disappointed that Stephanie skipped Austin on her recent tour of Central Market Cooking Schools. Sounds like her book is a good read.

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  14. This recipe and the pictures are positively mouthwatering! And afraid of ginger? Not me. :) Thank you, Lisa!

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  15. I have never tried cooking bok choy together with fennel before and this dish is very interesting! Love this fusion idea.

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  16. This looks so delicious Lisa. Yum! I love thinnly sliced fennel. With balsamic and lemon juice or on sourdough with haloumi... drool :)

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  17. Sounds like a motivational book and what a delicious looking salad this is! The combination of flavors is making my mouth water for reeeeal. :D

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  18. I like how thinly the fennel is shaved and the combination of Asian flavors in this.

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  19. That vinagrette looks so interesting - I will have to try it! I have never used bok choy in a salad, but this looks wonderful.

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  20. I like this east-meets-west salad. I only time I eat bok choy is in soups and stir-fries, so refreshing to see it in a western salad.

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  21. I love Stephanie Izard!! the vinagrette I know I would love, thanks for sharing!!

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  22. stephanie! i was rooting for her all the way, i'm so glad she beat blais...
    on looks alone, this definitely seems like a slaw, but regardless of what you call, it sounds terrific!

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  23. Stephanie was definitely one of my favorite Top Chef contestants of all time. And it's no surprise to me that this amazing recipe comes from her - looks great!

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  24. this looks really refreshing...a good twist on a salad!

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  25. Stephanie Izard came into the shop and it was such a trip to meet her. She talks faster than any person I have ever heard and it totally hilarious. I looked through the book but didn't get it because it I thought it was too meat heavy, but clearly didn't notice this dish. Yum!

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