Sunday, January 3, 2010

Shrink-My-Ass-Month: Shrimp, Avocado and Mango Lettuce Wraps

I am scanning every cookbook and food rag I own, trying to come up with innovative ways to make clean-tasting, healthy and yummy food. I'm also flipping around the Food Network, looking for inspiration (and avoiding Paula Deen and Emeril like nobody's business; I watch those shows and can feel my ass getting bigger. Guilt by association, or something).

One thing I noticed about Bobby Flay--he almost always dresses something with a "viniagrette" or a "mojo." And those dressings are usually flavor-packed and utilize olive oil. I think I've seen Flay use butter once. Now olive oil isn't low calorie, but it's a much healthier fat than butter. I also like Flay's penchant for bold, clean flavor--you aren't going to see him whipping up a casserole with cheese and soup.

And of course, we at Chez T. love our spicy things, so we do not fear the Flay-Man.

I decided to try my own hand at making a Flay-esque dish. I wanted something with a little heat, something to cool things down, and some fresh, crunchy substance to anchor the dish.

I'm telling you, I was doing a herky and a backflip after I tasted my experiment. This sucker is so good that you'll be doing the Yummy Dance* after the first bite. It's got a lot of ingredients, but honest, it's not that labor intensive, and this thing impresses. Despite the peppers called for, this isn't an overly spicy dish; the creamy avocado and the sweet mango temper the heat. It's a gorgeous balance.

Spicy Shrimp, Avocado and Mango Lettuce Wraps

inspired by Bobby Flay
serves 4

1/2 cup olive oil
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded
1 poblano pepper, roasted and peeled and seeded**
2 cloves garlic
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 red or yellow bell pepper, roasted and peeled and seeded**
1/4 cup mango nectar, such as Kerns
squeeze of lime
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper


1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup rice stick noodles, cooked as per package directions
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, thinly sliced and drizzled with lime juice
1 ripe mango, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
12-15 leaves green, red or romaine lettuce, washed and spun dry

Combine all ingredients for marinade in a food processor. Pulse until well combined. Set aside, at room temperature, for one hour.

Reserve 2 tablespoons marinade; set aside. Pat shrimp dry with paper towels. In a medium bowl, toss shrimp with remaining marinade and let sit for 15 minutes (only 15 minutes! If you marinate longer, the shrimp will get mushy.)

Meanwhile, cook rice noodles as per package directions; rinse in cold water. Toss with sesame oil and set aside, covered.

Slice mango thinly and set on platter with lettuce leaves, cilantro, and avocado (spritzed with lime to avoid discoloration)

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and stir-fry until just pink. Remove from heat, drizzling pan drippings over shrimp.

To Assemble:

Place a lettuce leaf on a flat surface. Cover with a thin layer of rice noodles, avocado and mango. Top with 2-4 shrimp, depending on size. Top with cilantro. Drizzle a bit of reserved marinade over, roll up, and enjoy!

* A post on the phenomenon that is the Yummy Dance is forthcoming.

**To roast peppers, hold them over a gas flame until blackened and charred. If you don't have a gas grill, you can toss the peppers with a little olive oil, put on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast at 450 degrees, turning occasionally, until skin is blistered and blackened, about 20-30 minutes.

Place blackened peppers into a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let sit 15 minutes. Skin should peel off easily then; remove stems and seeds.


  1. My wife teases me about doing the "yummy dance" she can tell when I have come across a food combo that does it for me. This looks really good I used to work with a guy that could throw a good viniagrette together I like to use them when I cook a good one can add a bright pop to food.

  2. This looks so refreshing and delicious. I'll be making this one soon. Thanks for sharing!

  3. A "herky"??? Omg. I havenet thought about doing a herky in years. I would probably dislocate my hip if I tried one now-a-days. My husband would probably love to see me do one..he might get turned on or piss his pants laughing!!!!

  4. I'm loving that you're doing shrimp recipes. I have your other one (the shrimp over orzo) on my menu for this week, I'll have to try this one next week. Looks like a little bit of summer on a plate, which we could all use :)

  5. What on earth is a herky? Is it some kind of involuntary reaction to all that pepper?

  6. "What on earth is a herky?"

    Witch, you might need to add TheOfficialHerkyPicture(TM) to your page somewhere. We voted on it, so it's legal. It should be part of Shrink-Your-Ass-Lifetime *and* Bust-A-(Gut)-Move routines.

    That dish gets a drooooooooooooooool rating.

  7. Okay, so having NO clue what a herky is...I googled. LMAO over here. The shrimp dish looks marvelous! I will do my best to track down a mango and give it a try. Your finished dish photo is beautiful- great job!

  8. Ck and Phoo-D: the fact that you don't know what a herky is means that you Have a Life. And don't even think I can do that anymore, bitches...this fat ass is Grounded!

  9. As jc points out, however, you did vote, and you get to wear the Team Harky badge to both explain and proclaim your righteousness.

    Also, your ass hasn't met my ass, or it would have a better sense of reality. Is all I'm saying. Since I will have none of your shrimp or avocado, I must take solace in clothing. Large, flowing clothing.

  10. phoo-d, that "herky" video dude is a POSER! his feet didn't leave the ground! bzzzzzt. NOT A HERKY.

    THIS is a herky (TM).

    5...6....7....8 *clap*

  11. Lots of herky virgins here!

    The dish looks scrumptious, TKW! I am somewhat intimidated by the ingredients list, but my love of avocado, mango, and shrimp might motivate me to get motivated. And I definitely need to get on board with the ass-shrinking. But tonights take-out Mexican and hubby's margaritas are not taking me in the right direction. Herky! Ouch . . .

  12. Delicious and beautiful--does it get better than that? Are we still talking about food...?

    And I do so look forward to the post on the Yummy Dance. I think I have just the shoes for it...

  13. A herky? I googled it, saw something I recognized, just had no idea that's what it was called. Sometimes I wonder if I have been living under a rock.

    Anyway....more shrink my ass recipes, please, I must pull myself together!
    (I agree about Bobby Flay, love watching him. His food is usually really spicy which doesn't always go down well in my tummy, but am really liking this recipe! Mangoes are divine.)

  14. I haven't heard the word "herky" since high school. That one year I tried to be a cheerleader. Not sure I could still do one but possibly.

    Love the shrimp recipes and now that #5 is back at college, I can incorporate some into my menu.

  15. Seriously...looks good but I wouldn't mind knowing what a herky is too....

  16. That spicy shrimp is making my mouth water, in some ways it is making me very unhappy right now.

  17. Happy New Year! So thrilled to be back here savoring your words and pretending that I will one day actually cook :)

    In all seriousness, those shrimp look and sound delectable (and fierce!) and I applaud you for trying to inject some health into your actual and virtual homes. Yum all around.

  18. It looks like you are in a groove. Keep these delicious dishes coming.

  19. Oh My GAWD that looks yummy! I am doing herkies all over the place just thinking about it. Ouch!

  20. Holy Shit, I am totally making these! I do not fear the Flay-man either - the spicier the better!

    I am no longer cooking Paula Deen recipes - I made her cinammon rolls over Christmas - 17 tablespoons of butter! I didn't even eat any and I think that's where part of my 6 pound weight gain came from!

  21. I know the yummy dance well and can't wait to hear your take on it.

  22. OMG, this one looks soooo good. Okay, I'm emailing your link to Hubby to beg him to make them for me. Perhaps if I do an exotic version of the Yummy Dance he will comply???

  23. Over at my house, we have a new love of lettuce wraps thanks to you, TKW! So, this one will have to be added. I like mangos, but the kiddies might rebel. Tried to sneak them in a few things over xmas and they were rejected. We'll see. Keep the healthy options coming!

    PS-I love Bobby Flay's Mesa Cookbook. Check it out if you get a chance. His "drizzles"/sauces are to die for.

  24. I really wish someone besides me liked shrimp in this house! I may just have to make it for myself for lunch. YUM!!

  25. I hate it when you share these yummy shrimp recipes - especially when my husband won't be going out of town for awhile (he's allergic to shrimp) But I WILL jot this one down for the first time he leaves this year - you can count on it!

  26. You're lucky you're just working on your ass!!! All we did was eateateat here for two weeks. This looks fantastic! And I eat avocado in spite of how fattening it is--now I'm spreading a bit on whole grain bread instead of mayo with a slice of turkey. I figure anything from nature can't make my ass bigger.

  27. Husband won't let me buy mango anymore because when I was pregnant, I craved them but was too damn big to make my own food and he kept forgetting he'd gotten them. Must have thrown away five or six former mangos.

  28. I have to admit this: Bobby Flay usually incites my snark on a regular basis, what with his profuse usage of poblano peppers, manchego cheese, serrano ham, and various chiles--and I have to say, impersonating his voice is one of our silly pastimes.

    He does make good-looking food, though, and this definitely looks very appetizing.

  29. Is it wrong that I have the biggest crush on Bobby Flay that I overlook his flaws (elizabeth nailed it...even I don't need that many poblanos or that much manchego) and think his dorky humor is adorable?
    Not as wrong as misspelling herky in my above comment, but wrong nontheless.

  30. Bravo for shrink your ass month ... That food looks fabbarooney!

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  32. As I hoped, herky got a lot of attention in the I don't have to say it! Awesome flavor and as soon as I follow some of those leads to get a bearing on the herky, I'm soooo doing it. My ass has almost hoisted its way up onto the wagon...

  33. Mmmm - love a good lettuce wrap, esp. with some zing. This might also get the husband off his "I don't really like shrimp" thing. Thanks!

  34. Well ding dang! This looks incredible! Love the combo of the shrimp, mango, avocado going on in this. I just wish I wasn't the only one in my family that loves avocado. What is wrong with my family?!

  35. So, today I was totally going to ask if you cook these items before you post the recipe. Well, you answered my question.

    I am not one who eats seafood. I did, however, make a goal to cook some type of seafood this weekend. Sunday. I will let you know how it goes. (Confession: my husband will be cooking it.)

  36. I think I did a herky on NY Eve. Probably why I can't walk... know I am a Kitchen Dork (hey, maybe we should have a joint site...TKW and TKD), but how do you "peel" an avocado? I just scoop them out, am I missing something?

  37. that looks great! such fantastic ingredients

  38. I agree, Bobby Flay has a great style of cooking. Very fresh! This looks like an excellent interpretation.

  39. Hey lady, we made a version of this tonight and it is the bomb diggity. In fact, I thought The Mistah was about to break into his own special happy dance and show me some lovin in the kitchen for such a kick ass meal.