The ideal party appetizer is both flavorful enough to impress in just a few bites, and easy to eat (preferably sans fork). Our Test Kitchen's three-herb and tofu lettuce wraps satisfy both requirements. Crumbled firm tofu is sautéed with scallions, garlic, ginger and jalapeño chiles, then topped with fresh basil, cilantro and mint, and wrapped in a soft lettuce leaf. Assemble them before your holiday soirée, or let guests build their own and dip the wraps in a soy-honey sauce spiked with mirin. Entertaining has never been this effortless.
Three-Herb and Tofu Lettuce Wraps with Soy-Honey Dipping Sauce
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 12 lettuce wraps
Cook Time: 15 minutes
One 14-ounce block extra-firm tofu, drained
4 scallions, ends removed and white and green parts thinly sliced
2 teaspoons grapeseed or canola oil, divided
3 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled (use the edge of a teaspoon to scrape off the skin) and grated
1 jalapeño chile, finely chopped
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
Juice of ½ lime
2 heads Boston or Bibb lettuce, leaves separated
½ cup fresh basil leaves (preferably Thai basil)
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
½ cup fresh mint leaves
¼ cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons mirin rice wine
½ teaspoon chile-garlic sauce
1. Make the tofu filling: Set the tofu on a cutting board and slice horizontally into 3 even layers. Set each tofu layer onto a triple layer of paper towels (or a thick kitchen towel), cover with 3 more paper towels (or a thick kitchen towel), and press firmly to extract as much liquid as possible. Crumble the tofu into a colander and use more paper towels (or a kitchen towel) to press the tofu, extracting even more liquid, until the tofu is finely crumbled and feels fairly dry. Add the sliced scallions to the tofu and toss to combine.
2. In a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat, add 1 teaspoon oil. Heat until it shimmers, about 1 minute, and then add half of the tofu-scallion mixture. Cook without stirring until the tofu is browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir and continue to cook until the tofu browns a little more, about 2 minutes. Transfer the tofu to a medium bowl and repeat with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and the uncooked tofu.
3. Return the cooked tofu in the bowl to the cooked tofu in the skillet. Make a well in the center of the tofu and add the garlic, ginger, jalapeño and salt. Once the mixture starts to sizzle, after about 10 seconds, stir it into the surrounding tofu and cook until the tofu mixture is fragrant, stirring often, for about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture back to the medium bowl, stir in the lime juice and set aside.
4. Make the dipping sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, lime juice, honey, mirin and chile-garlic sauce.
5. Assemble the wraps: Place the lettuce and herbs on a platter. Set the platter next to the tofu and dipping sauce. Assemble the wraps before serving by adding a few basil, cilantro and mint leaves to each lettuce leaf, topping with sautéed tofu and peanuts, and drizzling sauce over the top--or let your guests assemble and dip their own wraps. Calories per Serving (2 wraps): 175; Sodium: 578mg; Total Carbohydrate: 11g; Fiber: 4g; Fat: 10g