The first time I discovered the lettuce-wrap trend, I had a total OMG moment. It was also my first time eating at PF Chang’s, which is an experience in and of itself. I ordered an appetizer of peanut chicken wrapped in lettuce and I thought, ‘ohmygahd, why didn’t I think of this?!’ It’s friggen brilliant, these lettuce wraps, or cups: a calorie-free vehicle for your food that enhances the freshness. Plus you get a serving of veggies. Also, I’m not a huge fan of wraps and tortillas. They’re so bulky and distract from the goodness stuffed inside. Lettuce wraps are the solution, people! (and so are burrito bowls!)
This recipe was not actually inspired by my OMG-PF Chang’s moment, but actually by an Earth Fare coupon for salmon. If y’all (and I’m speaking to you Carolinians here) haven’t heard of Earth Fare, you need to check it out. We’ve got one right over the bridge in West Ashley. (And a few other places.) They send out awesome coupons once or twice a week, so sign up for their email list! I got this wild-caught salmon for $6/pound.
Fresh salmon isn’t always affordable for a college student. Frozen salmon isn’t as pretty and bright (loook!), but, it’s a fine substitute. I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s frozen fish because they come packaged in all different weights so you can get just the right portions.
If you’re afraid to invest in some of the condiments for this recipe, fear not. All of these condiments are great staples to have around, especially if you like cooking Asian food.
Rice Wine Vinegar can be used in my awesome ramen recipe, or add a tablespoon to cooked rice for a sushi rice taste.
Chinese Salmon Lettuce Wraps with Quick-Pickled Cucumbers
Makes 2 servings (4 lettuce cups)
- 1/2 pound fresh salmon, or frozen and fully thawed - $6-12/pound fresh; $5-8/pound frozen
- 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped – less than $1 for a bulb
- 1 teaspoon honey - about $2.50 for a 12-ounce jar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce – about $3 for a 10-fluid ounce bottle
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha, or red chili flakes – about $3 for a bottle that will last a long time
- Juice from 1/4 fresh lime – about .70¢ for 1 lime
- 1 cucumber – about $1.50
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar - about $3 for a 10-fluid ounce bottle
- 1 head firm, cup-like lettuce, such as Romaine, Iceberg, or Boston - about $2.50 per head
Approximate Cost: $13, which makes 2 servings at $6.50 each
Approximate Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the salmon in the center of a large sheet of foil. Sprinkle the salmon with the garlic, honey, soy sauce, Sriracha, and lime juice. Fold the foil over the salmon to form a pouch.
Place the foil pouch in the oven and bake until the salmon is cooked all the way through, 18 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the quick-pickled cucumbers. Cut the ends off the cucumber, then cut the cucumber in half length-wise. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds from the cucumber.
Cut the hollowed-out cucumber halves into small half-moons. Place the cucumbers in a bowl and mix with the rice vinegar. Snack on a few. They’re healthy and delicious. Be careful not to tip over the bowl, soaking the contents of your fridge in rice vinegar….oh wait, that only happens to me. Refrigerate the cucumbers until ready to prepare the wraps.
Get yourself some purdy lettuce, like this:
And place a few leaves on a plate. These are your ‘wraps’.
Add some salmon and cucumbers, wrap, and enjoy.
And while you’re enjoying these super healthful wraps, have yourself a listen to my new song obsession: William Fitzsimmons – So This Is Goodbye (Pink Ganter)
Want more? Check out two articles I wrote for The Jew & The Carrot:
Easy roast chicken. A whole meal in one pan: http://blogs.forward.com/the-jew-and-the-carrot/164378/shabbat-meals-perfect-roasted-chicken/
Two vegetarian dishes that take 15 minutes or less. Kitchen Sink Shakshuka and Warm Garlic, Spinach, and White Bean Hummus: http://blogs.forward.com/the-jew-and-the-carrot/164821/culinary-dreams-of-israel-interrupted/