After braising much of the red-tip leaf lettuce I received in my Mile High Organics starter bin, I still had some large outer leaves.
And despite that we're heading into the second week of April, here in Boulder CO it's snowing, so eating cold lettuce salad sounded unappealing.
With that in mind, I came up with a couple different ways to use the remaining lettuce as a feature in two hot meals.
Perhaps you've eaten out at a Thai restaurant and had lettuce wraps -- that's where I drew inspiration for the first meal idea (pic above).
Lettuce wraps are a wonderful way to eat with your hands: you spoon the filling onto the leaf, wrap it into a bundle, and then pop it into your mouth!
Traditionally, Thai lettuce wraps call for large iceberg lettuce leaves, but I used red-tip lettuce which isn't as crunchy as iceberg, but nevertheless it's colorful, and it tastes delicious.
Pork, Vegetable and Lettuce Wraps
1) Tear off the large outer leaves from the lettuce head, wash and drain.
2) In a skillet, saute a spring onion, some thinly sliced purple cabbage, and a carrot.
3) Toss in either ground chicken, turkey or pork -- I used pork.
Note: At Vitamin Cottage I found some locally grown and humanely-farmed ground pork which is incredibly flavorful and absent antibiotics and hormones.
4) Saute the ingredients gently, now grate half an apple and toss it into the pan. Put the lid on the pan and cook over low heat for about 10 mins.
5) Removing the pan from the hot plate, add chopped fresh sage and thyme (or your choice of herbs) to the mix, and then season it to taste.
To Serve: Lay lettuce leaves on large plates and spoon pork and veggie mix into the center of the leaf. Drizzle with seeded mustard, and then either eat as is with a knife and fork or wrap the lettuce around the filling and eat the bundle with your hands.
The second dish I made, (pic above) was inspired by old fashioned cabbage rolls, except I swapped out cabbage leaves for lettuce leaves.
1) Make the filling as above.
2) Boil a little water in a pot and quickly blanch several large lettuce leaves.
3) Lay the blanched leaves flat on a chopping board and then spoon filling into the center.
4) Wrap each leaf around the filling and place the lettuce rolls into a baking pan.
5) Pour either some water or white wine or chicken stock over the rolls to moisten them, and bake in a 350-degree oven for about 15 mins.
To Serve: Spoon a couple of rolls onto a plate, pour pan juice over them, drizzle with mustard mixed with either sour cream or mayonnaise, and garnish with apple slices and a fresh sprig of thyme or sage.