Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thai Pork Lettuce Wraps & Orange Sesame Asparagus Salad

We had a most delicious and healthy dinner the other night that came largely from our young spring garden. First, hubby's contribution: the thai pork lettuce wraps, recipe from Cooks Illustrated I believe.

What you need:
- 1 pork tenderloin (about a pound), cut into chunks
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 Tablespoon white rice (any kind)
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 2 medium shallots, peeled and sliced into thin rings (about 1/2 cup)
- 3 Tablespoons lime juice
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 Tablespoons chopped mint leaves
- 3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
- 15 to 20 large lettuce leaves (ours weren't super big, but came from the garden)

What to do:
- Place pork chunks on a large plate in a single layer. Freeze until firm and starting to harden around the edges, but still pliable - 15 to 20 minutes.
- Chop the meat (in 2 or 3 batches) in a food processor until coarsely chopped, using several pulses. Stir in 1 Tablespoon fish sauce and refrigerate 15 minutes.
- Heat rice in a small skillet over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown - about 5 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle until a fine meals - you'll get about 1 Tablespoon of rice powder.
- Bring broth to a simmier in a big nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook, stirring frequently, until about half cooked - about 2 minutes. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon rice powder over the pork, then continue to cook another 1 or 2 minutes until cooked through. Transfer to a bowl and cool 10 minutes.
- Add remaining 1 1/2 Tablespoons fish sauce, 2 teaspoons rice powder, shallots, lime juice, sugar, red pepper flakes, mint and cilantro to the pork and toss together.
- Serve wrapped up in lettuce leaves. Watch out, it's messy!

The Orange Sesame Roasted Asparagus Salad was a happy coincidence - it was in the paper and sounded like it'd go great with the lettuce wraps. And it did! I'd say this dressing needs some salt, but other than that it was delish.

What you need:
- Lettuce (4 cups or so)
- 1 orange
- 1 pound asparagus
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger root
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil (I used toasted sesame oil, more flavor)
- 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

What to do:
- Preheat oven to 425 and wash and trim the asparagus.
- Zest the orange and set zest aside. Finish peeling orange and break into segments.
- Arrange lettuce on plates and add orange segments.
- Place asparagus on a baking sheet and spray with nonstick spray or toss with a little olive oil. Roast in oven for 10-12 minutes, until tender. Take out and set aside for a minute.
- Whisk together orange juice, grated ginger, orange zest, and sesame oil.
- Place asparagus on top of lettuce, and pour dressing over. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

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