Whenever we think of Asian ingredients like bok choy, we tend to think of Asian recipes. But I was actually interested in something quite different. I had two goals in mind – to create a completely original main course with bok choy, and to see what would happen if I grilled this lovely green veggie. That’s how this main course came to be.
Red peppers, zucchinis, balsamic-glazed tofu, shiitake mushrooms and baby bok choy are grilled before being assembled in cheerful napoléons. The succulent morsels are then drizzled with a spicy scallion vinaigrette, adding a dose of heat as well as zingy, green scallion flavors.
A hearty and protein-filled main course, these grilled vegetable napoléons pack a lot of flavor in every bite – smoky, deep, spicy, robust, crunchy, it’s a carnival for the taste buds. Best of all, it’s a super healthy dish… Time to fire up the grill!
Food & wine pairing: Languedoc, Cinsault with grilled vegetable napoléons
Here I suggest serving a Cinsault (also spelled Cinsaut) from Languedoc, southern Rhône (France) or from California. And if you can find a Cinsault made with old vines, even better! (For an in-depth article I wrote on pairing Bonny Doon Vineyard’s 2009 Cinsault with this dish, click here.) Otherwise, a Grenache would be a good alternative.
Grilled vegetable napoléons with spicy scallion vinaigrette
active time: 45 min
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 28 oz (795 g) (2 packages) extra firm organic tofu – drained, cut in twelve 3/4″ slices and drained on paper towels
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 large red bell peppers – quartered, stemmed and seeded
- 2 baby zucchinis (8″ long) – cut lengthwise in twelve 1/4″ x 4″ slices
- 24 small shiitake mushrooms – stems removed at the base of the cap and brushed clean
- 6 baby bok choy – thoroughly rinsed, patted dry and cut in half lengthwise through the core
- sea salt to taste
- 1/2 recipe spicy scallion vinaigrette
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 large jelly roll pans
- 1 pastry brush
- Step 1: Place the vinegar in a small saucepan and heat at medium-high heat. When the vinegar starts to bubble at the sides of the pan, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 6 to 7 minutes until reduced by a third. The vinegar will look dark and syrupy and there should be 1 1/2 tablespoons of vinegar left in the pan. Remove pan from heat, transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
- Step 2: Place the tofu slices on a jelly roll pan, in a single layer. Brush both sides with the reduced balsamic. Then lightly brush with olive oil. Set aside.
- Step 3: Place all the vegetables on the jelly roll pans. Lightly brush on both sides with the balance of the olive oil. Set aside.
- Step 4: Preheat gas grill to high heat or fire up a charcoal grill. Your grill surface will probably not be large enough to grill all the vegetables at one time. So start grilling the peppers, then the zucchinis, mushrooms and tofu. Grill the bok choy last. Grill all the vegetables and tofu until well charred on both sides. This will take from 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size of your grill and the intensity of the heat. For the mushrooms, start grilling them cap-side-down. For the bok choy, the edges of the leaves will get charred before the rest. (Don’t worry about it, you’ll trim these before serving.) Grill the bok choy on each side so that grill marks appear on the heart of the plant. Once grilled, lay the vegetables and tofu back on the jelly roll pans in a single layer and sprinkle with salt as they come off the grill.
- Step 5: To serve – Place the bok choy on a cutting board, trim off the charred leaves and discard. Slice the bok choy crosswise in 1/4″ slices. Place 3 slices of the red peppers, skin-side-down, in the center of each plate. Top each pepper slice with a slice of zucchini, then a slice of tofu. Drizzle with half the vinaigrette. Top each tofu slice with 2 mushrooms and finish with a little mound of the chopped bok choy. Drizzle with the balance of the vinaigrette. Garnish with plenty of black pepper and serve immediately.