Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Greek Salmon Lettuce Cups

Lettuce Cups or wraps are a common site in Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants around me. One of the first times I ever saw them was in the Asian Fusion restaurant P.F. Changs. Its been years since I have been to one of these and to be honest my Asian inspiration stops there! This dish uses traditional Greek flavors with a little twist. If you are trying to eat low carb, lettuce wraps can be a great invention since a single leaf of lettuce is almost no calories! I love using fresh local ingredients and when I saw this Boston lettuce at my local farmer's market the other day I decided that I had to create something fresh and healthy. I have done a few other versions of this type of dish using shrimp and crab so don't be afraid to make this your own based on the ingredients that you have handy.

What do Lettuce Cups have to do with phylo dough and grape leaves you ask? Well the connection here is in the spices that I used - garlic, parsley, oregano and lemon were my base ingredients. There are two ingredients that always makes me think Greek that I didn't include - Feta Cheese and Olives. My boyfriend only has one real food hate and that is olives so they usually aren't in the house unless I get them on takeout and while I do often use grated cheese on my pasta with seafood I didn't think that the flavors really worked in this situation. This recipe calls for about 1 lb of wild salmon (I used Coho which is a bit thinner than other types) if you can't find wild salmon or don't want to spend the money consider using another type of wild fish versus using a farmed fish. The health benefits of wild fish are greater than the farmed versions so the difference in price is absolutely worth it!

click through for the recipe

Salmon Marinade
3 garlic cloves
2 sprigs of oregano
2 tbsp fresh parsley
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

1) Combine all ingredients and let 1 lb wild salmon marinade for at least 1 hr but up to 8 hrs (try not to let it sit much longer as the lemon juice can actually start "cooking" the salmon like a ceviche) 

Greek Salad
1/2 green pepper diced finely
1/2 red pepper diced finely
3 scallion - diced
1 cucumber - seeded and diced
2 tomato - diced
3 cloves of garlic - diced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh parley - chopped
2 sprigs fresh oregano - diced 
salt and pepper

1) Combine all ingredients and let sit for at least 30 min to mingle flavors

To make Lettuce Cups:
1) Remove about 6 intact leaves and gently wash - set aside on paper towels to absorb moisture 
2) Grill or pan sear salmon - I like to cook it skin side down first as it is then very easy to peel the crispy skin off and it doesn't stick as much - I flip it to just lightly cook the top side for about 3 min
3) Serve a lettuce leaf with a 3" x 1" piece of salmon and a spoonful of salad
4) Garnish with a lemon or yogurt sauce if desired