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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Turkey Lettuce Wraps

 We don't eat chicken. Technically Dave doesn't eat chicken; by default that means I don't either...much. This tends to cause a interesting game of hide-and-don't-seek when we are invited to dinner because more often that not, chicken is on the menu.

What this all means is that I've learned to bring along non-chicken options that are filling and interesting and can be disguised as side dishes to avoid overshadowing the main dish. It's never a good idea to dominate a meal your host has planned.

Many people only think of turkey as a big Thanksgiving meal, but it can be so much more versatile. Turkey cutlets allow for simple marinating and quick grilling in these Thai-Asian lettuce wraps; all the usual suspects (ingredients) come into play too: bean sprouts, peanuts and mint.

Using lettuce as the bread makes for a lighter, carb-free option that is perfect for a delicate entree or as a simple accompaniment to a larger meal. As a bonus, if you want to save time or feed a crowd, simply tear up the lettuce and toss all the ingredients to turn this into a big salad.

These turkey lettuce wraps came with us to a barbecue last weekend and paired quite nicely with the barbecued jerk chicken being served. The host wasn't offended by our addition and Dave had food to eat with no one the wiser - everyone was fat and happy!

Fat and Happy Food Blog Tips and Techniques: Just because we don't eat chicken doesn't mean you can't. Substitute chicken for the turkey if you eat our small feathered friend.

Turkey Lettuce Wraps

2 medium heads of butter lettuce
1 lb of turkey cutlets
1 garlic clove, minced
3 Tbls soy sauce
2 Tbls rice wine vinegar
1 Tbl olive oil
1/2 serrano pepper, chopped

1 bag bean spouts
1/2 cup peanuts, crushed
1/4 cup parsley (or cilantro)
2 tbls mint
5 radishes
3 Tbls rice wine vinegar
1/2 serrano pepper, sliced

In a Ziplock bag or shallow dish mix together all the marinade ingredients (minced garlic, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, olive oil and chopped pepper), add the turkey and let sit for at least one hour.

Remove each lettuce leaf, rinse and set on a paper towel to dry. Lightly crush the peanuts by placing then in a small bag and rolling with a rolling pin or use a can from your cupboard.

Chop the parsley and mint together, set in a small bowl

Thinly slice the radishes and the serrano pepper, toss in a bowl with the remaining 3 tablespoons of vinegar just before serving.

Grill the turkey over medium high heat, this should take just a few minutes on each side as the cutlets are fairly thin. Slice or tear the turkey into smaller pieces.

 To Assemble: Take a lettuce leaf, add in a few slices of turkey, a few bean sprouts, a couple of radishes with a pepper slice, a good pinch of the parsley mint and crushed peanuts. Drizzle with the Thai-Asian dressing.

To serve: 
Assemble a plate of lettuce cups and set them on a platter.
OR set out all the ingredients on separate plates and let guest assemble their own.
OR toss all the ingredients together with the vinaigrette and serve as a big salad (pictured to the left).

Lettuce Wrap Vinaigrette

2 tsp sesame chili oil
1/2 tbls sesame seeds
1 tbls soy sauce*
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbls olive oil
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tbls champagne vinegar
1/4 tsp salt and pepper, each

Add all the ingredients into a squeeze bottle or small seal-able jar and shake to combine. Shake immediately before each use.

*For Gluten Free- be sure to use a GF Soy Sauce

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