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Sweet Medi Lettuce Wraps

April 5, 2011

When we first got back from England, the weather followed us. It rained for a week, just long enough to have a very wet moving day. Pretty soon after we moved, in a classic Bay Area weather switcheroo, it turned into sundress weather (or in this town, peasant skirts and Birkenstocks.)

With a temperatures in the high 70s and a new apartment so close to Berkeley Bowl, it seemed like time for a nice refreshing salad. I found this recipe in a newly unpacked cookbook, Jacques Pepin’s Simple and Healthy Cooking. It’s a surprising combination of sweet apricots, tangy grapefruit and crunchy walnuts, wrapped in a lettuce leaf.

And in true Berkeley fashion, it’s made with a lesser-known grain: bulgur wheat. You might know bulgur best from Tabouleh, another Mediterranean salad. Bulgur is sold dry, and in hot water it puffs up into nutty whole-grain granules. (Granules which tend to fall through the tines of a fork, making the lettuce wrap an ideal presentation.)

Like a lot of Pepin recipes, this one gives you a nice opportunity to try a new knife skill: cutting between the membranes of a citrus fruit. The nice thing here is that you’re going to cut the grapefruit into chunks anyway, so you don’t have to stress about perfect-looking wedges. One tip: use a very sharp knife.

This wrap makes a nice refreshing appetizer, side dish or snack. We went “the full Berkeley” and ate this for dinner along with some chickpeas and spinach.

Sweet Mediterranean Lettuce Wraps

Serves 6 as a side dish/appetizer

1 cup bulgur wheat
1 cup boiling water
1 grapefruit (1 lb)
3 oz dried apricots, chopped into a large dice (½ cup)
2 oz walnuts, broken/chopped into ¼ inch pieces (½ cup)
3 scallions, finely chopped (½ cup)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice (I added an extra 2 Tblsp at the end)
2 Tablespoons peanut oil
½ teaspoon of salt (I added more at the end)
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
1 small head of butter lettuce (Pepin uses iceberg)

1. Place bulgur in a large bowl and add the boiling water. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.
2. Using a very sharp knife, peel the grapefruit so that none of the white pith is showing. Cut inside the edge of the membrane of each segment and remove the flesh in wedges. Cut the flesh into ½ inch chunks.
3. Add grapefruit, apricots, walnuts, scallions, lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper to the bulgar and stir to combine. If you are eating this right away, stir in the dill as well. If making it ahead, add the dill just before you eat. Letting the salad marinate in the fridge for a few hours helps the flavors come together.
4. Serve at room temperature or just slightly chilled. Separate and wash lettuce leaves. Place a few spoonfuls of salad on each lettuce leaf and wrap like a taco or burrito.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 5, 2011 10:51 pm

    Yum, looks delicious, Hanah!

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