Pineapple and pork lettuce wraps
Smack your lips and lick your fingers delicious
My husband, JP, has been acting as my official taste tester and recipe rater. I've posted nearly a hundred recipes and he has tasted and rated every one. This recipe received his highest rating. My daughter Margo agrees.
Asian lettuce wraps
I make a sauce with lime juice, Asian fish sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, cumin and garlic. Half the sauce is massaged into some rough cut ground pork. The other half is reserved for a dipping sauce. The pork is cooked, stove top, and then served up with lettuce wraps, fresh herbs and grilled pineapple chunks.
I recently found a fabulous source for old-school, sweet, low-acid pineapple. Hawaiian Crown is a family owned business that is bringing full-flavor pineapple back to the islands, using sustainable farming methods. If you are looking for a refreshing and healthy treat, they take online orders and ship to the mainland.
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The $10 essential tool for peeling, coring and slicing pineapple
I'm not big on single-use tools, but for preparing pineapple, this tool is essential. It takes a 15-minute, messy job and turns it into a 2-minute, no-stress process. Once you have used this tool you will never hesitate to buy a fresh whole pineapple again. See my pineapple post to learn how it works. Note, I find Hawaiian Crown's medium size pineapples have an excellent fit with this tool, with not a lot of wasted pineapple left over.
Grilled pineapple is the bomb
Once you have grilled pineapple, you will grill it again and again. Grilled pineapple can be used in both savory and sweet dishes. It is wonderful with pork or chicken. Grilled pineapple makes a great salsa and a fabulous topping for oatmeal, ice cream, yogurt, pavlova or panna cotta. Don't forget to grill a little extra to snack on.
- See my posts on how to quickly peel garlic and ginger.
- Use a Mini-prep or food processor to chop your garlic and ginger.
- I like Three Crabs Asian fish sauce.
- Wash, spin and chill your lettuce leaves in advance.
- For the ground pork, ask your butcher for a rough-cut "chili grind." Whole Foods will do this for you.
- My pineapple post provides you with everything you need to know about pineapple, including the two methods for cutting pineapple.
- The components of this dish can be made in advance, including: the sauce, the meat and the grilled pineapple. You can then reheat the meat and serve.
- 2" finger ginger, minced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 T brown sugar
- ¼ c Asian fish sauce
- ¼ c rice vinegar
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 2 t ground cumin
- 6 green onions, thinly sliced
- ¼ t red chili pepper flakes
- 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped, divided
- Salt to taste
- Pepper taste
- 2 t sunflower oil
- 2 pounds "chili cut" ground pork
- ½ pound snow peas, julienned
- ½ t sesame seed oil
- 1 pineapple, peeled and cut into ½" slices
- 1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated, cleaned and chilled
- ½ cup mint leaves
- Combine first 9 ingredients in a large bowl to make sauce. Remove half and set aside. Put half of the sauce and the ground pork in a bowl. Combine, using your hands to mush together, until the sauce is well integrated into the meat.
- Heat a large pan with 2 t sunflower oil. Add ground pork mixture and sauté until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add ½ cup cilantro and cook another minute. Set aside.
- On a medium hot grill, grill pineapple slices for about 8-10 minutes until you have nice grill marks on both sides. Let cool. Cut out core and dice into ½" pieces. Place in a bowl and set aside.
- If pork has cooled, briefly reheat and then remove to a serving platter. Add snow peas to the pan with ½ t sesame seed oil and briefly stir fry, until bright green and still crunchy, about 2 minutes.
- Add lettuce leaves and cooked snow peas to the serving platter. Remove pineapple from bowl, reserving any accumulated juices, and transfer to serving platter. Pour residual pineapple juice into remaining sauce. Add remaining cilantro and mint to serving platter.