I occasionally eat iceberg lettuce. It feels like a cross between a guilty pleasure and nostalgia. Once in a while, I absolutely love a nicely done chunk of iceberg with blue cheese dressing and bacon. Mmmmm. I order it in restaurants and I do not think I have purchased a ball of green iceberg lettuce in a grocery store since. . . well, I have no memory of doing so until very recently. So, when I went to Wegmans and purchased a wrapped ball of lettuce labeled iceberg, well, it felt kinda OMG. (No clue what OMG means? Click here and wonder why are you reading a blog? Too secular for OMG? Well, maybe we need WTF? Clueless again? Go back and click on that site again. Or, try this one: SFLA (as opposed to the unlisted STLA.))
That is not, however, what I am writing about here. Instead, this is a mildly healthy thing. And, it involves me cooking. Weird, eh? A lettuce wrap. I first encountered such a thing (I think) at P.F. Chang's (a restaurant bibliochef reviewed here) and then (gasp) came across a reasonably similar thing in a recent issue of Bon Appetit. Here's the recipe I started with. . . . And what I changed/added included:
1. I switched the chicken thighs for chicken breasts. And yes, i chopped the darn things into pretty small bits -- maybe 1/4 inch or so. As for amount, I had 3 breasts that added up to about 1 1/2 punds, so I used two of them and. . . tomorrow I may make the third into something Mexican-ish. And yes, I am on ish as a big suffix today.
2. I added a little more soy sauce than called for just because I think the world goes better with. . . soy sauce. Yes, I use organic. Yes I use low sodium. Yes I feel vaguely virtuous.
3. I used -- gasp -- iceberg lettuce. What really caused this? Well, on teh one hand the recipe called for butter lettuce and there just was none when I was at the store. On the other hand, my experience of lettuce wraps previous to this attempt included iceberg. So. . . . and now that I have googled and discovered the iceberg lettuce myth, read about the possibility that iceberg lettuce contains a morphine-like chemical here, discovered that Arizona has an Iceberg Lettuce Research Council, and watched this video on the darn stuff (yep, a bit of a sales pitch) . . . I am kinda glad I did.
4. Absolutely not indicated in the recipe is the need for a mixture of things to become the sauce to add -- not just the sweet asian chili sauce the Bon Apetit people indicate. So, with a little imagination frm elsewhere, I mixed up:
*soy sauce (maybe 2-3 Tablespoons)
*a couple squeezes of siracha
*two dollops of a hotter asian chili sauce (siracha has sugar; this one called sambal oelek does not)
*a pinch or two of red pepper flakes
*the piece de resistance -- which I would never ever have remembered without help -- a squeeze or so of dijon mustard --- I used grey poupon
The sauce, of course, was salty and hot. And it can be made more or less hot. All in all the sauce just adds to the delight of the lettuce wraps and ensures that iceberg lettuce has some bite . . .
So: all in all, it was a fine time int he kitchen with bibliochef, making chicken lettuce wraps and a hot sauce to ensure they were just a bit more addictive than iceberg on its own. Hurrah. And, now, finishing this entry, I discovered you can actually find the P.F. Chang recipe on line, right here, including a recipe for the sauce. Did I try it? Not yet. Might I? Yep.