How are y’all doing? Are we all coming up for air and realizing it’s AUGUST?
Lettuce wraps are a quick dinner recipe that I love for summer. They’re crispy and fresh and a bit spicy, a bit sweet. They really hit all the right notes for a balmy evening. They’re fun, too. Like the tacos of childhood, where everyone builds their own right at the table.
I’m trying to slow down this month. It is not easy. But so far our summer has flown by. And I haven’t had a single spontaneous trip to the beach. We’ve had a nonstop succession of weekend getaways planned. I’ve loved them, but I feel like it’s time to slow down and leave space for spontaneity or it will be September and my head will be spinning off my head.
I used half tofu and half pork in my version. I didn’t advertise that in the recipe title because, man, you guys aren’t fans of tofu (every tofu recipe gets a tiny fraction of the usual number of click-throughs from my email list ?). I like to cut the richness, add some plant protein, and I personally love tofu when done properly.
To do tofu “properly”, I stick it in the freezer as soon as I bring it home – this improves the texture and makes it absorb more of a sauce. I thaw it in the package submerged in a sink full of hot water, then open the package and drain/press it between paper towels weighed down with big cans. But tofu haters, you are absolutely free to just double the pork.
I’m going to try really hard to leave some empty days to meander through some August adventures. Boredom is when creativity happens, right? I’ve been trying to figure out how to bring vacation time back to real life, and I think unplanned days are part of it. What do you think?
Lettuce Wraps with Crispy Pork & Peanut Sauce
- 4 tbsp cooking oil
- 1/2 medium onion finely chopped
- 1/2 oz ginger finely minced
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 package tofu drained and pressed (see note in post) OR another pound of pork
- 2 tsp coarse salt
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 6 kaffir lime leaves or zest of 1 lime
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 limes
- 2 tbsp finely minced cilantro
To serve (lettuce is a must, the rest optional!)
- Lettuce leaves iceberg or green leaf lettuce work best
- Cooked basmati rice or vermicelli
- Julienned or grated carrot
- Thinly sliced cabbage
- Julienned cucumber
- Salted peanuts
- Peanut Sauce see links in post!
- Store-bought Sweet Chili Sauce
- Heat oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook onion until soft, about 6 minutes, then add ginger and garlic. Stir in ground pork, tofu (if using), salt, brown sugar, and lime leaves. Cook until fat renders and pork and tofu are nicely browned (it'll take a while - about 10 minutes past the point that the pork is actually cooked through). Stir in soy sauce, juice of 1 1/2 limes (reserve the last half-lime for serving), and cilantro.
- Serve family-style, with plates of lettuce leaves and desired toppings.