If homemade sausage conjures images of meat grinders and a sprawling mess, you'll be delighted by the simplicity of this seafood sausage. Kevin Ashworth, executive chef at Edward Lee's MilkWood in Louisville, Kentucky, tosses shrimp, scallops, chicken breast and high-octane flavor builders such as fish sauce, cilantro and garlic into a food processor, buzzing the mixture into a smooth blend. The sausage is first poached in simmering water, then browned in butter. Ashworth uses the sausage as a filling for a fresh, crunchy lettuce wrap; we think it's equally good alongside scrambled eggs with a squeeze of hot sauce.
Seafood Sausage Lettuce Wraps
Recipe adapted from Kevin Ashworth, MilkWood, Louisville, KY
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 10 minutes
½ pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ pound bay scallops
½ small chicken breast (about 2 ounces)
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons ground coriander
⅓ cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
2 teaspoons finely chopped chives
2 teaspoons finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 head Bibb or Boston lettuce, leaves separated
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 cup your favorite coleslaw
½ bunch fresh cilantro, ends trimmed and sprigs separated
1 lemon, sliced into 6 wedges
1. Make the seafood sausage: To the bowl of a food processor, add the shrimp, scallops, chicken and garlic and process until the ingredients come together in a smooth paste, about 30 seconds. Add the lemon juice, fish sauce, ground coriander, cilantro, chives and shallot and pulse to combine, stopping the machine to scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl as needed, about 10 one-second pulses.
2. Set a small bowl of cold water on the work surface. Fill a large bowl with the ice and water and set aside. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Dip 2 metal soup spoons in the cold water. Use one of the spoons to scoop about 2 tablespoons of the seafood sausage mixture from the bowl, using the other spoon to press, mold and shape the sausage mixture into a football-shaped oval. Drop the shaped sausage into the boiling water. Repeat with the remaining sausage mixture.
3. Once the sausages float to the surface of the water, cook for 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked sausages to the ice water. Once the sausages are chilled, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a paper-towel-lined plate.
4. In a large skillet set over medium heat, melt the butter. Once the butter starts to foam, add the sausages to the pan and cook, occasionally turning them over, until they are browned on all sides, about 2 minutes total. Use a metal spatula to transfer the sausages to a platter.
5. Make the wraps: To each lettuce leaf, add a sausage. Top with a little mayonnaise, coleslaw and a cilantro sprig. Serve with a lemon wedge.