Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Romaine Burritos with Blue Cheese, Chicken, Apples, and Pecans: On Not Being Pithy

A Little SomethingOne of the quirky joys of reading old cookbooks is delighting in the crazy recipe titles. Remember Watergate Cake? Or Hell Balls? And who could forget Home-for-Lunch Quickie? The author and editors of A Little Something seem to lack some imagination when it comes to recipe titles. They're all so very straightforward and prescriptive. Yesterday's Garlic & Cheese Twists were twists with garlic and cheese. Baked Clam Dip Loaf was a clam dip, baked, in a loaf of bread. Today's recipe is similarly direct.
Romaine Burritos with Blue Cheese, Chicken, Apples, and Pecans

Romaine, radicchio, butter, or iceberg lettuce are great low-calorie "wrappers." Make a platter for your next get-together or whip one up for a snack or light lunch.

Makes 8

4 ounces cooked chicken, diced
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons prepared Dijon mustard salad dressing or vinaigrette
8 romaine lettuce leaves, hard stem removed

  1. Combine the chicken, blue cheese, apple, and pecans in a small bowl, and toss with the dressing.
  2. Place the romaine on a flat work surface. Place a tablespoon of filling about 1/4 inch from the wide end of each leaf. Roll up burrito style, completely enclosing the filling.
Some other nice stuffings:
  • Tomato Salsa (page 28) mixed with diced chicken
  • Goat cheese Log with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Basil (page 42)
  • Dilled Shrimp Salad (page 94)
  • Chopped Eggs, Mushrooms, and Onions (page 61)
See what I mean? A direct recipe title.

It's... well, it's boring, frankly. Why not "Chicken Salad Lettuce Rolls"? Or "Bertha's Butter Lettuce Burritos"? Something with more character. Something pithy, or something that hints at a story untold. I'm willing to hear suggestions.

I don't know why the author felt a need to put "wrappers" in quotation marks. The lettuce is used as a wrapper. It's not a fake wrapper. It's not something something normally used as a wrap that is only containing items in some vague, molecular cuisine manner. The lettuce wraps the salad. If they'd wanted to put burrito in quotation marks, I'd understand. As is, it smacks of bad "sign" writing, where "people" put quotation "marks" around random "words" because "they" don't understand "language."

End rant. (For now.)

I suggest you use butter lettuce instead of romaine -- it is more pliable, and rolls easier. Also, the mild taste is lovely with chicken lettuce rolls. Also, there's no reason whatsoever to peel your apples. Wash 'em, sure, but leave the peel on, unless you're petrified of potential pesticide residue. Nuts are optional -- be aware of allergies of your guests.

And, really, you can make your own salad dressing. If you don't know how, leave a comment, and I'll post easy directions.

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