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Recipe: Bok Choi and Ham Gratin

Serves 8


One 2-lb bok choi, washed and cut into 3-inch lengths
1 ½ tbsp. safflower oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/4tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
2 tsp. flour
1 ½ cups milk
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
2 oz. lean cooked ham, julienned
1 tbsp. finely cut chives (the scallions would work too!)


Grate the bok choi or chop it in a food processor*. Set the bok choi aside.
In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high
heat. Add the onion and shallot and sauté them, stirring frequently, until they are just
translucent—about five minutes. Add the bok choi, salt and pepper, and cook until the
bok choi stems are slightly limp—about five minutes more. Remove the skillet from the
heat, drain off any excess liquid and set the mixture aside.


Preheat the broiler. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and the remaining ½
tablespoon of oil to form a paste. Pour the milk into a small saucepan and heat it over
medium heat until the surface barely trembles. Whisk the flour paste into the milk until a
smooth mixture results. Whisk in the cheese and nutmeg, blend well, then stir in about
three-quarters of the ham.


Put the bok choi mixture in a shallow baking dish, pour the cheese sauce over it,
and stir well to combine. Arrange the remaining ham decoratively on top. Broil the dish
until the surface has browned—two to three minutes. Sprinkle with the chives; serve at
once. You could also sprinkle with bread crumbs before broiling.
*If grating the bok choi seems too daunting, cut the bok choi in half lengthwise and boil
in water until soft. Put in the baking dish as is or cut into small pieces. Finish recipe
above.

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