Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps (Larb)

I have a house full of Giada wannabees. I don't know if it's the colorful spotless designer dresses that never show oil splatters, the snappy Italian pronunciations (prosciutto! bruschetta!) or the sunny carefree California parties she's constantly hosting. Whatever the case, my kids love Giada. I mean they love Giada.

Seriously, has your 4-year-old wistfully pined for Giada De Laurentiis to be her mother? Have you, after explaining back to said 4-year-old that Giada seems nice but how sad that would be since then you couldn't be her mother, experienced your 4-year-old reassuring that 'we could still be friends'? Given the opportunity my kids would dump me for Giada in an instant.
Well, in case you haven't heard, Giada spent some time in Thailand recently and this month she's sharing a few Thai-inspired recipes in Food Network Magazine, including one for this yummy Turkey Larb. Since we can't hit the Thai restaurant scene much due to Roo's nut allergies, I'm all for making Thai food at home. Larb is right up our alley, low carb for Mufasa, ground turkey for Roo, limes for the ladies, and most importantly, Giada made it!

But here's the thing. My kids are weird about cooked onion. Basically it makes them gag if they figure out it's in whatever they're eating. So, my strategy here is rather than mince, I slice the onion and shallot. That way, the larb gets infused with lots of flavor, but I can pick out slippery onion bits from the kids' servings before any retching occurs. Win win!
Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps (Larb)
adapted from Food Network Magazine

For the Dressing

1/3 cup fresh lime juice
juice of 1 large lemon
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp honey

For the Larb

3 tbsp canola oil
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp kosher salt plus more to taste
Zest of 1 large lemon
1 & 1/2 pounds ground turkey
ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
1 head butter lettuce, separated into leaves
1 or 2 Thai chiles (or serranos), stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced (leave the chiles out until you've served the kids if they can't take the heat) 

Zest the lemon and reserve the zest. Set aside. You're going to need it in a minute for the larb.

To make the dressing, combine the lime and lemon juices, fish sauce, and honey in a little bowl. Whisk it all together and set aside.

Heat the oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, shallots, salt, and lemon zest. Cook about 5 minutes until the onion starts to get soft. Add the turkey, season with more salt and black pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is cooked through (about 5-7 minutes). Add the dressing to the pan and cook a few minutes more. Remove from the heat, stir in the mint leaves and check seasoning. Add more salt and/or pepper to taste.

Spoon the turkey mixture onto lettuce leaves and serve. If you like a little (or a lot) of heat, sprinkle a few raw chile slices on top. Serve with sticky rice and lime wedges.

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