Thai Turkey Lettuce Cups are fast food
Giada De Laurentiis, the Food Network star and cookbook author, might not live just like you and me (we’re assuming she lives more fabulously), but she says, in her new book, that she faces the same difficult task at the end of a workday: Too tired to cook something complicated and labor-intensive, she still wants something tempting for dinner.
Hence, “Weeknights with Giada: Quick and Simple Recipes to Revamp Dinner” (Potter, $35). In it, she promises dinners that can be made in less than an hour, and she delivers plenty of variety to break up the routine, such as halibut sandwiches with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh herbs, capers and arugula, and Asian chicken salad with a soy-rice vinegar dressing.
We picked a fast dish, well within our 30-minute limit — her Thai Turkey Lettuce Cups, and enjoyed its bright flavors.
De Laurentiis suggests serving the lettuce cups with sticky rice. A crisp white wine would be a refreshing counterpoint to the tang of the sauce.
Joe Gray is a staff writer for the Chicago Tribune.
Thai Turkey Lettuce Cups
From “Weeknights with Giada,” by Giada De Laurentiis. For the lemongrass, peel off the tough outer layers to expose the tender inner part.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
For the dressing:
1⁄3 cup fresh lime juice (about 5 limes)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons honey
For the Thai Turkey:
3 tablespoons canola oil
½ medium-size red onion, diced
3 small shallots, thinly sliced
1 piece (4-inches long) lemongrass, minced (about ¼ cup)
1 Thai or serrano chili pepper, stemmed, thinly sliced
1½ pounds ground turkey, preferably, dark meat
¼ teaspoon salt, plus more, to taste
½ cup chopped, fresh mint leaves
Freshly ground black pepper. to taste
1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated
To prepare the dressing: Whisk together the lime and lemon juices, fish sauce and honey in a small bowl.
To prepare the Thai Turkey: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add the onion, shallots, lemongrass and chili pepper. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, for 5 minutes. Add the turkey; season with the salt. Cook, stirring often, until the meat and vegetables are cooked through, for 5 minutes.
Add the dressing; cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the mint. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve: Divide the lettuce leaves among 4 dinner plates. Spoon the mixture into the leaves.
Makes 4 servings.