Lee's Kitchen: Spicy chicken lettuce wraps a no-carb wonder

My first visit to Stone Acres this year on a warm, pretty afternoon would have been perfect had my old hip not hurt. Fortunately, the parking lot is just a hop, skip and jump to the farmstand.

As I walked, I saw Stonington First Selectman Rob Simmons and his wife take some visitors on a tour of the farm. Someday I would love to see the farm; instead, I patted a sweet black Labrador and talked to a young girl who explained that the Lab wasn’t hers. “I have a yellow Lab,” she explained. “Is your Lab as nice as this one,” I asked. “Yes,” she said, “but not as mellow.”

As I showed my Community Supported Agriculture receipt I was given a dark green tote I could use for my CSA goodies over the summer. That week there were fat, gorgeous strawberries on a counter and baggies of herbs. In the refrigerator I chose lots of different types of lettuces, some blue mushrooms (local but not from the farm), some blue cheese from Mystic Cheese Company, and French radishes.

Each week there will be more and more choices. This is going to be a terrific summer of cooking and eating.

Over the weekend I got my latest edition of Bon Appetit. While that magazine, and most other June magazines, are called the grilling issue, I found some incredible salad ideas, including one with cantaloupe and snap peas. Then I notice this recipe that could be ready to eat in under 20 minutes and carb free, using my favorite lettuce: Bibb or butter.

Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

From Bon Appetit, June/July, 2019

Serves 4

 

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon sambal oelek or Sriracha

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon fish sauce

3 scallions

2 garlic cloves

1 pound ground chicken

Salt to taste

Butter or Bibb lettuce leaves, thoroughly washed and dried

For serving: lime wedges and ramekin of Sriracha for a little more heat

 

Mix together the soy sauce, sambal olelek or Sriracha, sugar and fish sauce in a small bowl and set aside.

Trim the dark green parts of the scallions and slice thin. Set aside this part for serving. Thinly slice the white and pale green parts. Finely chop the garlic cloves.

In a skillet, heat the oil over medium. Cook scallions and garlic, stirring occasionally until softened (a little color is OK), about 3 minutes. Add ground chicken and lightly season with salt. Cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon and tasting occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Add reserve soy sauce mixture and cook, tossing occasionally, until liquid is almost completely reduced, about 2 minutes.

Serve in a platter with lettuce leaves topped with chopped dark green scallions.

 

On the Side: Il Pomod'Oro

Well, it took me almost an entire year to visit il Pomod'Oro in East Lyme and boy, am I sorry, for this may be the Italian restaurant we've been waiting for (forgive me, Tony D's, I still love you).

We had a very early dinner, 4 p.m., since friends were going to a puppetry show, but we had drinks, a lovely dinner, dessert and a shot of limoncello, too. Everything, even the desserts, ice cream and gelato, are made in house, but when I saw that bucatini all'Amatriciana was on the menu, my mind was made up.

Bucatini is a fairly wide hollow noodle, like a drinking straw. When done right, there is a light tomato sauce, translucent pieces of onion and Italian bacon, like pancetta. The best I had was at Otto in New York. Il Pomod'Oro makes it even better. We talked with the owner, Petri Markku, after our meal and he mentioned that the menu also offers bucatini cacio e pepe on the menu (bacon, pecorino Romano and black pepper) that he likes even better. Can't wait to try that the next time. By the way, everything else we tried was delicious, too.

Il Pomod'Oro, 117 Boston Post Road, East Lyme

Lee White lives in Groton. She can be reached at leeawhite@aol.com.

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