PORK LETTUCE WRAPS WITH WATERMELON SALSA

This recipe, inspired by Guy Fieri’s Watermelon Pork Tacos, hasn’t been up close and personal with my kitchen for nearly two years, but Junior Too remembered it down to the cucumber and avocado in the salsa–a good sign considering how long it’s been and how many recipes my guys have eaten through in the meantime. And, once again, these relatively easy lettuce wraps hit the spot, Junior Too and Senior gobbling down our absent Junior’s portion. Thumbs up!

Pork Lettuce Wraps with Watermelon Salsa

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp sesame oil

1-1/2 cups watermelon, 1/4″ cubes

1 cup cucumber, 1/4″ cubes

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4″ cubes

3 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp Thai Chili sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp onion powder

3/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

1-1/2 lbs boneless pork chops (or pork tenderloin), cut into bite-sized pieces

15-20 medium-sized romaine lettuce leaves

1) In small bowl, mix rice vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and sesame oil; set aside

2) To medium bowl, add watermelon, cucumber, and avocado; pour rice vinegar sauce over top and gently mix; refrigerate

3) In small bowl, mix soy sauce, oyster sauce, Thai Chili sauce, sesame oil, onion powder, red pepper flakes, ginger, salt, and pepper; set aside

4) Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high; add pork and cook 5-6 minutes, stirring often, until just cooked through; stir in soy sauce mixture, remove from heat, and transfer to a bowl

5) Set out bowls of watermelon salsa, pork, and lettuce leaves and let your hungry ones assemble their wraps by spooning pork and salsa onto those crisp lettuce leaves (make sure there are plenty of napkins since these can get messy); enjoy!

Servings: 4

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LEMON-POPPY SEED SKEWERED SHRIMP WITH PINEAPPLE AND WATERMELON

I knew I’d find a good use for that wedge of watermelon. The next step was to come up with a sauce that wouldn’t clash with my other ingredients. Enter: Lemon poppy Seed Drizzle, a tasty complement to seafood AND pineapple and watermelon. As for the poppy seeds… Yesterday, the flecks were parsley, so I thought I’d mix it up some. Unfortunately, since my guys weren’t talkative during dinner (something to do with eating in front of a movie), the verbal feedback was on the thin side. Appetite-wise, however, they spoke volumes, leaving a poppy seed here and there and skeletal skewers on their otherwise clean plates. This is wonderful summer fare. Yes, I know it’s still spring, but sometimes I’m a bit ahead of my time 🙂

Lemon-Poppy-Seed Skewered Shrimp with Pineapple & Watermelon

LEMON POPPY SEED DRIZZLE:

1 cup water

3 tbsp lemon juice

1 egg yolk

2 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water

1 tsp poppy seeds

1/4 tsp sea salt

SKEWERED SHRIMP AND FRUIT:

1-1/2 lb large cooked shrimp (tail on, peeled, and deveined–easy!)

1 whole pineapple (skin removed, cut in half vertically, cored, and sliced into 1/2″ thick pieces)

1/4 medium watermelon (rind removed and cut into 1/2″ thick pieces)

1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges

sea salt to taste

parsley (optional)

8 skewers for grilling shrimp (I used bamboo)

1) In small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together all lemon poppy seed drizzle ingredients; bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook 2-3 minutes until dressing thickens; remove from heat, pour into small bowl, and refrigerate

2) Heat outdoor grill to medium-high (or grill pan on stovetop)

3) Divide shrimp between skewers, piercing each shrimp near head and again near tail; refrigerate

4) Grill pineapple 2-3 minutes each side (don’t overdo–just soften a bit and put some manly grill marks on them); remove from heat, set aside, and let cool a few minutes

5) Arrange plates: alternate and overlap slices of pineapple and watermelon; place a couple lemon slices in corners of plate

6) Grill skewered shrimp 1-2 minutes each side (since these are already cooked, you’re just heating them a bit and going for more manly grill marks)

7) Place grilled shrimp atop fruit and sprinkle with sea salt to taste; drizzle with lemon poppy seed dressing; pop a jaunty piece of parsley on plate and serve; Enjoy!

Serves: 4

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 04/28/12