Wrap music for the tummy: pork, spices all rolled up

June 19, 1996|By Jimmy Schmidt | Jimmy Schmidt,KNIGHT-RIDDER NEWS SERVICE

The new "wrap" craze is becoming more and more popular. It's replacing the traditional sandwich with a rolled, tasty counterpart for everyday eating on the run.

A wrap is a thin, starchy sheet that is rolled or wrapped around a tasty filling. Usually the wrapper is a flour or corn tortilla that encloses any combination of raw and cooked foods, usually with some pronounced Mexican or southwestern style and flavor.

It also can follow an Asian twist, using rice paper wrappers to encase ingredients that reflect the flavors of the Pacific Rim.

Food fillings made with wraps are more flavorful than the wrapper, thus you get more taste when compared with a thin filling between two thick layers of bland bread in the traditional sandwich.

The cool thing about wraps is that the fillings are usually made of shredded, julienne or large-dice ingredients that are easy to eat and more flexible to design. For instance, chicken, tomato, onion, avocado, lettuce and spices are more fun to eat shredded, diced and combined with spices in a wrapper than just sliced and laid between two pieces of bread.

Combine all the firm ingredients in a bowl, then add seasonings, even hot sauces, mustard and condiments, making sure the ingredients don't get too wet. Add rice, couscous and other grains to soak up some of that moisture and carry the flavor through the wrapper. Lay the filling first on the tortilla, then top it with more fragile cheeses and lettuces.

Here's an easy start to your world of wrappers with spicy pork tenderloin wrap.

Pork tenderloin wrap

Makes 4 large wraps

2 medium pork tenderloins, about 8 ounces total, trimmed of all fat and connective tissue

1/2 tablespoon mild or hot paprika

1/2 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons fresh black pepper

salt to taste

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/2 cup diced sweet onions

1 red bell pepper, washed, cored, seeded, cut into a fine julienne

2 avocados, cut in half, seeds removed, peeled

4 10-inch flour tortillas

1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar or jalapeno jack cheese

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1 cup shredded lettuce

1/2 cup favorite salsa

In a medium bowl, combine pork tenderloin with paprika, cumin, black pepper and salt to taste. Mix well to coat all surfaces of pork.

In a medium-size, nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the pork, cooking until it is well seared, about 4 minutes. Turn and sear another 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until done, about 5 minutes depending on the size of the tenderloin.

Remove pork from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Cut or shred pork into strips and place in a medium-size bowl. Add lime juice, onion, pepper and avocados. Season with salt to your taste.

Lay tortilla wrappers on the work surface.

Divide filling across lower third of each tortilla. Sprinkle the cheese, cilantro and lettuce over the filling. Spoon just a little of salsa over filling.

Roll bottom flap over filling and tuck under. Fold in sides and then roll tortilla. If necessary, secure with a wooden pick or skewer. Serve with a little extra salsa on the side.

Per serving: 480 calories, 51 percent calories from fat, 27 g fat, 48 mg cholesterol, 199 mg sodium, 42 g carbohydrate, 22 g, protein

Pub Date: 6/19/96

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