Lettuce Wrap Lunatic

Zesty lime and peanut lettuce wraps

Where have I been? How is it that I have missed the lettuce wrap craze? Heck, even the cattle wrastler Pioneer Woman has a recipe for tofu lettuce wraps. I have not been to P.F. Chang’s so maybe that explains it. And, ‘low-carb’ is not a hyphenated word you hear around our house often. I did witness one of my friends ordering a Jimmy John’s sandwich wrapped in lettuce once. “LETTUCE instead of BREAD?!” I thought. “What the hell?”.

Mea maxima culpe (because mea culpe isn’t enough here).

After I made one batch of the filling for these wraps, I ate half of it before it even hit the table. This required me to fry up another pound of tofu. We ate the wraps for dinner, then I had them for breakfast and the last bit for lunch the next day. To say I love these is an understatement . . . I love these more than cheese or ice cream  . . .

Or pie. Yes, I typed ‘pie’.

Thai-Style Tofu Lettuce Wraps

serves 4 generously

adapted from The Cozy Apron

Filling

1 pound extra-firm or firm tofu, cut into slabs, blotted dry with paper towel and crumbled
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 tablespoon lime juice
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
2 scallions, white and light green parts, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon vegetarian oyster sauce (The original recipe calls for fish sauce. I think you could also use soy sauce or hoisin.)
½ teaspoon salt or to taste
Pinch black pepper

Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the crumbled tofu, seasoning with a pinch of salt. Resist the urge to stir the tofu. Let it fry for at least 5 minutes. Stir when you see the edges of some of the crumbles brown. I use a metal spatula to scoop up the bits that stick. If you let it get somewhat crispy, there should be minimal sticking. Cook until most of the tofu bits are light to medium brown. The key here is not disturbing it too much.

In a medium-large bowl, add the cooked and cooled tofu; next add the remainder of the ingredients, and toss all together until well combined; set aside while you prepare the dipping sauce.

Sweetly Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

makes about 1/2 cup (More than enough for the wraps. The original recipe is double this. I really don’t like it when there is a lot of sauce leftover because it inevitably sits in the fridge until I throw it away one month later. Yes, I could go out of my way to find something to do with it. Sometimes I do. But, more often it goes to waste.)

1/4 cup natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3/4 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon sriracha

In a medium bowl (or a food processor), combine all ingredients and gently whisk together to combine; at first the sauce may look “broken”, but it will come together- just continue to whisk until smooth and creamy; set aside until ready to serve with wraps.

To Serve

2 tablespoons dry roasted peanuts, chopped, for garnish
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges for garnish
20 Romaine leaves, bottom half of the leaves’ hard “rib” portions removed

Fill boat-shaped Romaine leaves with the tofu mixture. Top with peanut sauce, chopped peanuts and a squeeze of lime juice. Swoon accordingly.

I served sauteed and steamed broccoli on the side.

Ratings:

Me:  A++ (To infinity, really)

Scott:  B (He is not a big fan of the spines in Romaine, so this may have something to do with his ratings. I could see serving the crumbled tofu in a tortilla or over noodles the avoid the lettuce spine avoidance.)

Luca:  B+ (“This is exotic.” Then he choked on a red pepper flake so I think that may have something to with the rating.)

Alia:  A++ (And, she meant it this time. I did serve hers over rice because I didn’t want to argue about the lettuce.)

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