Yes, it's true, iceberg lettuce is a necessary part of this dish. It is still the only lettuce that stays crisp enough to hold its shape after it has been dressed.
This recipe is reminiscent of the well-known Mandarin dish Minced Squab in Lettuce Leaves. I loved ordering that dish long ago at the Mandarin Restaurant in San Francisco because of its clean flavor and simplicity.
With its sweet and sour qualities, the Minced Beef in Lettuce Leaves variation will leave you feeling satisfied. Try serving it with steamed brown rice to round out your meal.
Minced Beef in Lettuce Leaves
Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 20 minutes
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 green onions
1 pound ground beef
8 crisp iceberg lettuce leaves, edges trimmed 1/4 inch
* Slice garlic with sharp knife into about 5 slices lengthwise. Make a pile of slices and cut through them lengthwise again, then crosswise to mince. Set aside.
* Whisk together garlic, mayonnaise, brown sugar, rice vinegar and salt in bowl until smooth.
* Cut off and discard root end (about 1/4 inch) of green onions and 2 to 3 inches coarse green tops. Thinly slice green onions. Cut tomato into about 6 slices and stack slices in 2 or 3 piles. Cut into bite-size pieces.
* Combine onions, tomato and ground beef in medium mixing bowl. Add 1/2 of garlic mixture and mix thoroughly until well combined.
* Cook ground beef mixture in skillet set over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until beef loses its redness and is lightly browned, about 3 to 5 minutes.
* Place lettuce leaves on work surface. Spread 1 1/2 teaspoons remaining garlic mixture on each leaf. Place 3 or 4 tablespoons ground beef filling in center of each leaf and roll up. Serve 2 lettuce leaves to a plate, rolled side down.
4 servings. Each serving: 400 calories; 865 mg sodium; 71 mg cholesterol; 28 grams fat; 22 grams carbohydrates; 16 grams protein; 0.25 gram fiber.