Asian Lettuce Wraps

CSA season is upon us!  We’ll receive our 4th box this week, and the beginning of the season is always heavy on greens– lettuces, chard, kale, arugula, spinach, pea tendrils.  I struggle to use all of these greens and find myself tearing recipes that allow for creative preparations.  Frequently, though, I rely on lettuce wraps, because one can only eat so many salads! Here’s one we ate the other night that was really terrific.  It’s from Better Homes and Gardens March, 2016 issue.

http://www.bhg.com/recipe/vietnamese-pork-meatballs/http://www.bhg.com/recipe/vietnamese-pork-meatballs/

Vietnamese Pork Meatballs

Ingredients

1 1/4 pounds ground pork
stalk fresh lemongrass, smashed and minced (1 tablespoon)
teaspoons grated fresh ginger
clove garlic, minced
teaspoons fish sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest
1 tablespoon canola oil

Directions

  1. In a large bowl combine pork, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, and lime zest. Using damp hands, form into twenty 1 1/2-inch meatballs.
  2. In a large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add meatballs. Cook 12 to 15 minutes or until done (165 degrees F), turning occasionally.
  3. Serve meatballs with cabbage, carrots, radishes, cilantro, and lime wedges. Drizzle with lime juice.

I stuck to this recipe pretty closely, except I used ground turkey instead of pork.  I’m not a huge fan of lemongrass, but I do have a bottle of pre-sliced rings of it in the fridge, so I measured out a tablespoon of that, and minced my ginger instead of grating.  It was very simple to put together.  The meatballs were very sticky without any sort of binder, and I was glad that I wore food service gloves to roll them.  They made a large mess!

20160628_102719-1

I used sweet and sour sauce to season when we ate, and Husband used Trader Ming’s (Trader Joe’s) Gyoza sauce.  Both preparations were zingy and delicious, but I’m sure the lime juice or soy sauce would be equally pleasing.  We had a little napa cabbage that I sliced thinly to put in the wrap along with the grated carrot you see in the photo.  The meatballs were moist and tender, with really good texture.  I would definitely make these again!  An outer lettuce leaf held 3 meatballs, while the smaller leaves managed to contain 2, so you could get two wraps per serving (5 meatballs per serving, according to the recipe).  Tiny lettuce leaves or wonton cups could make this a really cute appetizer.

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