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Now that spring has finally sprung, I've noticed my cravings have shifted the way they do every year: away from warm, comforting, long-cooked dishes and towards bright, crunchy salads. When summer arrives, I likely won't want to cook my vegetables at all, eating sliced salted tomatoes through the end of the season. Though I'm not quite at that point yet, this salad is a preview of what's to come.
This salad is the offspring of my own curiosity and a tried-and-true recipe that I whip up at least a couple of times a year. In this case, the question was, "Is bok choy good raw?" and the recipe is Deb Perelman's (of Smitten Kitchen fame) carrot-ginger dressing, a Halloween-bright orange, spicy but sweet blend that's accented with white miso paste and rice vinegar. It tastes just like that orange stuff that's served over iceberg at Japanese takeout spots, but a million times fresher.
Luckily, bok choy tastes great raw, like a milder, juicier cousin to raw cabbage. It's excellent combined with the clean, milky flavor of tofu, which also provides a nice textural contrast, and the smooth carrot-ginger dressing ties the two together nicely. Salty chopped peanuts bring some crunch to the salad, which makes a great warm-weather lunch or dinner.