Wednesday, September 3

Caramelized Apple Fennel Lettuce Cups

With their refreshing flavors, crisp texture, and high adaptability lettuce cups are the new "it" food. Originally found in Korean cuisine, lettuce wraps have been transformed into the multi-cuisine bite size cup which is taking taste buds by storm.

I will admit this recipe was actually sparked by a recent request from a coworker. The request was for an appetizer which could be easily served to a hundred people for a autumn farm wedding. The answer a perfect little autumn salad served in an easy to eat lettuce cup. Thanks for the inspiration LW, this one is for you!

Full time 1 hour (includes chilling time)
Makes 12 cups (but easily multiplies)

The needs-

12 butter or baby radicchio lettuce leaves
1 large fennel bulb
1 large semi-tart apple (ex: ginger crisp, Braeburn)
1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup crumbled bacon*optional
1/4 cup dried crasinis*optional
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tbsp butter, cut into 4 pieces 
1 tsp turbinado sugar (or raw sugar)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper

*I suggest using the bacon or the crasinis, but not both as it becomes overwhelming.

The know-

Cut the top and bottom off fennel bulb. 

Slice fennel into thin bite size pieces.

Core apple and slice into bite size pieces.

In a large sauté pan, heat 1 piece butter along with 1/2 tbsp butter over medium high heat.

Add fennel slices in, trying to get as many in as you can, but only a single layer.

Cook 3-4 minutes or until a lightly golden brown color forms, flip over and repeat. You will not get 100% even browning, this is okay.

Once both sides are browned, move to a mixing bowl.

Repeat this process with apples.

If you could not get it to fit in single layers in two rounds, repeat with whatever fennel and apples are left.

When all fennel and apples are browned, place remaining butter and olive oil in pan along with sugar and allow sugar to melt. It happens pretty fast.

Return apples and fennel to the pan and season them with the salt and pepper.

Toss the pan to evenly distribute seasoning and allow pan to caramelize, approximately 3-4 minutes.

Once caramelized move mixture to a mixing bowl and let chill in refrigerator 15 minutes.

Once chilled, add remaining ingredients, except lettuce into the bowl and toss.

To plate, place a piece of lettuce in a small serving vessel or cupcake liner and scoop roughly 2 tbsp of mixture into the center.

Move vessels to a serving platter and if desired lightly dust with sea salt just before serving.


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