This week’s refreshing summer dish is an all-time favorite of mine. It includes an exciting combination of textures and flavors – fresh, crunchy, cold, hot, sweet, and spicy – all in one bite. Whether enjoying for dinner with family, or serving as an appetizer to holiday company, these delightful wraps will surely be a hit…so be sure to make enough!
On the menu this week – Vietnamese Style Grilled Pork Lettuce Wraps. Fill a fresh leaf of butter lettuce with shredded carrot, rice noodles, and fresh herbs. Top with slices of marinated, grilled pork tenderloin and a drizzle of tangy, yet spicy, dipping sauce. Is your mouth watering yet?
- Chicken thighs are a great substitute for the pork. The thighs stay nice and moist once grilled and give this dish a wonderful texture and flavor.
- A “meaty” mushroom would be a great substitute for a vegetarian dish.
- When time to plate, instead of serving the pork whole, I sometimes thinly slice the grilled meat and place alongside the other ingredients.
- Dipping Sauce: Makes about 1½ cups
- 1 cup fish sauce
- 3 limes, freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 small hot chilis, seeded and minced
- 6 scallions, dark green part removed, finely slice at an angle white and light green section
- For the Pork:
- 1 pork tenderloin (2 lbs.) fat removed, 16 - 20 (¼-inch) slices
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoon fresh ginger, cleaned, minced
- 6 inches lemongrass, bottom section only, minced
- 2 limes freshly squeezed lime juice and zest from one lime
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 serrano chili, seeded and sliced
- Noodle Salad:
- 3 ounces dried rice noodles
- 3 cups carrots, peeled and finely julienned
- ½ cup mint leaves, stems removed
- ½ cup cilantro leaves, stems removed
- ½ cup purple or green basil leaves, stems removed
- For the Sauce: Combine all the ingredients. Once the sugar dissolves, cover and place into the fridge until time to use.
- For the Marinade and Sliced Pork: Combine all the marinade ingredients and mix well. Place the sliced pork into a shallow pyrex dish and pour the marinade all over. With fingers, make sure the marinade is worked onto all the surfaces, top and bottom, of the sliced pork. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the fridge from 40 minutes up to overnight. Remove pork from marinade. To skewer, take two of Bull’s metal skewers and lay them flat, about an inch apart from one another on cutting board with the ends hanging off the edge. Carefully thread a piece of pork through both skewer ends, gently guiding the metal through the center of the sliced pork, then continue to slide the pork on skewers until it reaches the the top. Repeat this step until all 5 pieces of pork are on the skewer. (See photo below of cooked pork for example of skewer placement.)
- For the Rice Noodles: Once time to grill the pork, place the dried noodles in a large bowl. Soak them in hot water until soft and slippery and ready to use. Remove from water, pat dry, and place into bowl along with the shredded carrots, cilantro, mint and basil.
- For the Pork: Preheat the Bull Angus Grillon high heat for 10 minutes. Using the Bull monster brush, remove any residue from the grill grates. Take the Bull tongsand a oiled rag and run across the hot, clean grill grates. Turn the heat down to medium-high and place the skewers down onto the grill over direct, hot heat. Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side.
- To Serve: Arrange the butter lettuce, noodle salad and grilled pork onto a large platter and let your dinner guests make their own. Don’t forget the bowl of dipping sauce, the perfect finish to these wonderful pork lettuce cups.
♥ Chef Amy