Dinner: It’s A Wrap

Need something to pick you up and dust you off during the January Winter doldrums? This brightly colored meal option wraps it up and delivers.

Lettuce wraps have been a “thing” for a few years now, popular at Asian restaurants as well as other ethnic establishments, including American. And I have to say, we love ’em not only because they are low-carb, but they’re very versatile, so tasty, and so fun to assemble (just make sure to have a few extra napkins on hand.) The zesty flavors in these Korean-Style Spicy Steak Lettuce Wraps make them a standout—at least in our humble opinion.

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Place as much, or as little, of each ingredient in the lettuce leaf, then roll and eat.

Most high-end supermarkets will now carry gochujang, which can be found in the ethnic food aisle. It is a savory, spicy, and pungent fermented Korean condiment made from red chili, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. Now that may not sound too appealing to some of you, but we really like it. The finished product is a dark, reddish paste with a rich, piquant flavor.

Think of gochujang as similar to miso paste — a little goes a long way, and it’s just as versatile. It can be used in marinades for meat dishes like Korean bulgogi (another favorite of ours), stirred into dipping sauces, or used to punch up stews or soups. And like miso, once opened, it should be stored in the refrigerator, with just as a long shelf life. Best of all, gochujang is considered a diet-friendly superfood because it’s rich in protein, antioxidants and vitamins, but low in fat and calorie content.

Kimchi on the other hand will be located in the refrigerated section of a grocery store or Asian market. The reddish fermented cabbage (and sometimes radish) dish, is made with a mix of garlic, salt, vinegar, chile peppers, and other spices. It is another superfood chockfull of many health benefits. I’ve read that Koreans eat so much of this super-spicy condiment (40 pounds of it per person each year) that natives say “kimchi” instead of “cheese” when getting their pictures taken.

We were definitely smiling after eating these fun and tasty wraps!

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Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 lb. skirt steak
  • 1/4 cup gochujang (Korean red chile-bean sauce)
  • 2 Tbs. Asian sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 4 medium scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, grated
  • 1 large head Boston or butter lettuce, leaves separated
  • 1-1/4 cups prepared cabbage kimchi, coarsely chopped
  • Kosher salt

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Mix gochujang, sesame oil, soy sauce and minced garlic to create a paste.

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Rub the paste all over both sides of the skirt steak and let sit for 10-30 minutes before broiling.

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After broiling, the meat rests for 5 minutes before slicing.

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Cut thin slices against the grain, collect the juices and pour into the remaining paste mixture.

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There are usually large chunks of cabbage in the kimchi, so give it a coarse chop.

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Plate all of the ingredients and let each diner assemble their own. You can add the gochujang mixture to the pile of meat, or let each person add some directly to their wraps—or both.

Directions

  1. Position a rack 6 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on high. Line a large heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan with foil and put the steak on it.
  2. Whisk the gochujang, sesame oil, soy sauce, and garlic in a small bowl. Rub 3 tablespoons of the mixture all over the steak and let marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes. Whisk the vinegar into the remaining gochujang mixture and set aside in a small serving bowl.
  3. Arrange the scallions, carrots, and lettuce on a large serving platter in individual mounds. Place the kimchi in a serving bowl.
  4. Broil the steak, flipping once, until medium rare (125°F), 3 to 4 minutes per side. Let rest for 5 minutes, then slice thinly against the grain. Season to taste with salt and mound on the serving platter. Bring all the components to the table for everyone to assemble their wraps as they like.

By Ivy Manning from Fine Cooking

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