Jan 14, 2011

Lettuce Wraps with Serrano-Mint Sauce

Week two of the new year, and we are sure many of you are still trying to find recipes that are not only healthy, but tasty too.  These lettuce wraps hit the spot and most importantly, they are not only figure friendly, they are really good. Caitlin chose to fill her romaine lettuce leaves with sesame crusted Mahi-mahi.  Monica used shredded steamed chicken.  Both sets of wraps were deliciously topped with a Serrano-Mint sauce, inspired by a Bobby Flay recipe from a few years back.  That sauce is versatile and can be used with a variety of proteins (shrimp, tofu, flank steak, etc...).  It is low calorie, yet, extremely flavorful.  Once you try it, we guarantee that it will probably become a favorite of yours too!

Caitlin: I had this whole meal prepped and cooked in just under 30 minutes (take that, Rachel Ray). It was a refreshing and healthy dinner - a nice change after all the heavy winter stews we've been enjoying. The serrano-mint sauce went great with the fish; it was a little spicy so unless your kids enjoy spicy fare, it may not be for them. I had a few Mahi Mahi fillets that I crusted in sesame seeds and sauteed, then I took the whole fillet and wrapped it in Romaine lettuce and topped it with the sauce. While my picture won't be winning any food or photography awards, I promise it was quite tasty.
Caitlin's Version with Mahi Mahi
Monica:  I've made this recipe in the past and have usually either used grilled shrimp or baked tofu.  This time around, I decided to steam some chicken on the stovetop, shred it and added it to my wraps.  I know many of us often wonder what to do with chicken in order to jazz it up.  Granted, steamed chicken may not be the most exciting, however, when shredded and topped with this glorious sauce, it tastes amazingly good.  It is fresh and you don't feel guilty if you have more than one. Oh and like Caitlin, my photo also doesn't do justice to the dish!
Monica's version with Steamed Chicken
Ingredient List
1 pound Mahi-mahi or chicken
Olive oil or Canola Oil
Salt & Pepper
Sesame seeds (to crust Mahi-mahi)
For the sauce:
1 cup tightly packed mint leaves
2 serrano chiles, chopped
1 (1-inch) piece of fresh ginger, cleaned & chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
2 tsp fish sauce OR soy sauce
Salt (if necessary)
1 tbs olive oil (optional)

For the Mahi-mahi wraps: 
Season the fillets with salt and pepper, then crust them in sesame seeds. Heat oil in large saute pan and fry the fish about 3 minutes on each side, or until the seeds are browned and the fish is to your liking. Lay on a piece of Romaine lettuce and top with the sauce. 

For the Chicken wraps:
Steam the chicken and add seasoning to your preference . I chose to add a tad of salt, dried sage and dried oregano for flavor. Once the chicken is steamed, let it cool a bit, then shred it.

Arrange the chicken on the lettuce leaf and top with the sauce! That is it; if you like, add some crispy rice noodles for extra crunch.

For the Serrano-Mint Sauce:
Place all ingredients, except for salt & olive oil, in a blender. Pulse until smooth. Season with salt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. If you choose to add olive oil (it is optional), add it before serving, it just slightly changes the consistency of the sauce to be slightly smoother. Bring to room temperature before serving.

If you find that the sauce is too spicy, use 1 serrano first and add the second one if necessary.

Substitute a variety of proteins for the wraps, including grilled shrimp, baked tofu, thinly sliced steak, halibut, etc...

Caitlin: I listened to one of my favorite bands, The Specials - upbeat and fun.
Monica: Healthy food inspires good music.  Here is some of my playlist:
1)  Lovers Rock - The Clash
2)  Always On My Mind - Willie Nelson
3)  Time Is On My Side - The Rolling Stones
4)  Ask - The Smiths 
5)  Gracias a la Vida - Mercedes Sosa 

Drink of Choice
Caitlin: Because the fish is light but the sauce has a definite bite to it, I wanted something on the sweeter side, so I had a Gewurztraminer wine.
Monica:  Sparkling lemonade, I felt like something tart, yet bubbly.

A Recipe to Remember?
Defnitely, lettuce wraps are healthy and this sauce is divine.

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