Lettuce Eat Wraps

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I love bread as much as most — on burgers, sandwiches, served warm with butter, whichever way you slice it I’ll gladly eat it. But have you ever had a burger or sandwich that seemed like more bread than burger? It’s at times like these that bread can really put a damper on the flavor train. Cue the lettuce. Lettuce wraps or cups adorn a few appetizer menus around town, and we love the platform it gives for flavors to shine. Rather than overshadow its contents, lettuce is a vessel that lends a bright, fresh quality to bold flavors. See, or taste, for yourself…

tiger lettuce cups

Teton Tiger

Not one to do anything halfway, the Tiger offers two lettuce items to choose from: Chinese lettuce wraps or Laab lettuce cups. The lettuce cups feature chopped chicken, mint, cilantro, green onions, toasted rice powder, lime and chili dressing on butter lettuce. You’ll see butter lettuce featured in most of the versions we explore today because this lettuce varietal is a solid vessel for transporting food from plate to mouth. You won’t see these leaves grow weak under meats and sauces. Also used for the Chinese lettuce wraps, the butter lettuce contains either tofu or chicken (your pick), stir-fried shiitake mushrooms, water chestnuts, green onions, garlic, ginger, bell pepper and crispy ramen noodles.

palatelettuce wrap

Palate

Now that the smoke has blown out of the valley, you’re guaranteed sweeping views of Sheep Mountain and the National Elk Refuge when you dine at Palate in the National Museum of Wildlife Art. These inspiring views are paired with a diverse range of lunch plates at Palate. The beef lettuce wraps (pictured above) hold Snake River Farms skirt steak, Napa cabbage, Dynamite Sauce and Kaffir cashews. The cashews add a pleasant crunch to each bite!

Ascent Loungeascent lounge lettuce cups

Nestled in the Four Seasons in Teton Village, the Ascent Lounge boasts a cozy mountainside setting and is serving up Pan Asian Cuisine. Think vegetable spring rolls, tuna poke bowls and Thai chicken salad cups. The Thai chicken salad is topped with finely julienned carrots, cucumber, jicama and a cashew mint lime dressing. Avoiding the creamy dressing you’d expect of most chicken salad, this dressing combines bright flavors to round out the fresh, light quality of the vegetables and chicken.

FIGS

Incredibly, these lettuce wraps and cups have spanned restaurants with varying cuisines. With that in mind, it’s easier to see the twist on this dish that would appear on a Lebanese menu. I’m referring to the stuffed grape leaves at FIGS, in Hotel Jackson. Perhaps not exactly a version of lettuce, these grape leaves achieve similar results: rich flavors delivered in green packages. The grape leaves have been pickled and contain either lamb and rice, or rice and tomato if you’re looking for a vegetarian option. FIGS grape leaves

Local

Succulent pork, fresh lettuce, and pickled cabbage come together in Local’s lettuce wraps. When Ayla Allen, of Jackson, Wyoming wrote us requesting the recipe a few years ago, she called these Korean pork wraps “legendary.” These wraps are not the stuff of legends, but rather, a delicious reality. Get them still at Local or make them at home with the following recipe.

Local’s Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

    For the Pork Brine:
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1/4 cup garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup ginger sliced
  • 2 limes, halved
  • 1/4 cup sambal
  • 1/2 gallon water
  • 1/2 gallon ice
  • 1 pork butt
  • For the Korean Barbecue Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup minced ginger
  • 1/4 cup garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon jalapeno, minced
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup mirin
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sambal
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • For the Pickled Cabbage:
  • 1 red cabbage
  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar

Instructions

  • To make the pork, combine the first 10 ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil.
  • Pour the brine into a large container and fill with ice to cool.
  • Add the pork butt and let brine overnight.
  • Cook the pork in an oven at 225 F for 12 hours.
  • Meanwhile, to make the Korean barbecue sauce, combine all ingredients in a pot and simmer until it's reduced by half.
  • To make the pickled cabbage, thinly slice cabbage and toss with the salt and wine vinegar.
  • Let sit overnight and strain off the liquid.
  • When the pork is done, pick the meat apart and toss it with the Korean barbecue sauce.
  • Garnish with basil, cilantro and pickled cabbage and serve with whole lettuce leaves.
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About Author

Raised in the land of casseroles and deep fried cheese curds, Sam Simma left rural Wisconsin for the mountains of Wyoming in summer 2012. Her appetite for adventure is the only thing that rivals her passion for food. She has always used writing to document and critique her travel and dining experiences. Her warmest memories among family and friends have been associated with the food that was at the center of the occasion. From staging cooking shows with siblings to perfecting turtle brownies with her dad, today Sam enjoys connecting people over food by hosting cookie decorating parties, wine pairing nights, and Midwest-inspired potlucks. A dessert fanatic, she has come to impress friends and family with key lime pies, Oreo bon bons, and Snickers ice cream cakes that are far simpler than they could ever imagine. Shhh! Don’t tell.

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