Chimiwraps Bursting With Flavor

 Chimiwraps

Recipe for a warm veggie wrap.

By Kevin RR Williams

RECIPE This is not your chimichanga de abuela. Here's a healthy flavor-layered hybrid wrap with contrasting spicy fruity dressing and balsamic reduction. It can be prepared vegetarian, vegan or (cough) with chicken in place of tofu. I first made cold wraps with lettuce and dry raw ingredients to pack for lunch. For a hot dinner entrée, veggies are grilled with cheese.

When you season to taste, it always pleases. With this in mind, quantities provided in the sidebar are guidelines. Desired number of servings and whether there are accompanying items determine how much to prepare. As with my Zucchini Firecrackers, you can expect a burst of flavor from varying textures and contrasting sauces.

 Chimiwrap Closeup

The Grill Chef With Three Bowls

1. One of my favorite ingredients for topping salads or garnishing entrees is thinly sliced seared zucchini. I call it zucchini bacon (though it tastes nothing like it). Using an OXO Y-Peeler®, drag lengthwise to create long strips. Sprinkle with salt and coarse-ground pepper before searing until crisp. Turn strips at least four times for even cooking on a non-stick skillet until dried out like potato chips. (For that crunch factor, you can alternatively fry veggie bacon. If you eat meat, you'll likely prefer real bacon.) Set aside in a bowl.

    Tip 1A: Trader Joe's Italian Olive Oil Spray [1] is great for laying down the right amount of oil to achieve a perfect sear. Alternatively, you can moisten a paper towel with olive oil and wipe the pan.

2. Next in the skillet is the protein. You simply must try tofu marinated in barbecue sauce and soy sauce. Bull's-Eye® original BBQ sauce is one of the few that includes molasses instead of corn syrup. To permeate the tofu with flavor, place cut strips in a Ziplock® bag in the refrigerator overnight. For raw wraps, I did this without frying. For the Chimiwraps, strips were coated in corn starch (tempura batter is better but takes longer) and fried until golden brown. After cooking, place fried tofu in a second bowl with a paper towel to drain. If 1/4 inch strips are cut along the short width of the tofu, you'll use two for each wrap.

    Tip 2A: Many people think a whole pot of oil is required for deep frying. With just 1/8 inch of oil in a pan you can fry these strips with two turns. Using less oil, four turns are required. For oil conservation, a small pot increases depth.

    Tip 2B: It might seem unfair to require part of the recipe to be done overnight when you're trying to prepare a same-day meal. So, as an alternative, let the tofu marinate for 20 minutes. When you are really short of time, generously sprinkle with salt, tumeric and paprika before coating with corn starch and frying.

    Tip 3B: Ideal smoking point for various olive oils vary, with extra virgin being the lowest (374°) and extra light the highest (468°). For simplicity, keep temperature between 200° and 370°F to prevent smoking. Olive oil has 15% saturated fat (SF), 73% healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which may lower your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and 11% polyunsaturated fats. However, olive oil is high in calories, so use in moderation. Canola oil (62% MUFAs) or high-oleic sunflower oil (82% MUFAs) are generally less expensive alternatives. Choose MUFA-rich foods such as olive oil instead of other fatty foods — particularly butter (63% SF) and stick margarine (80% SF). [2,3]

3. Now sauté onion along with chopped kale in a skillet in with 3 tablespoons of hot olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and ground pepper. Kale is a fibrous leaf so by the time the onions are turning translucent, the kale will still retain some firmness. Place this in a third bowl.

Two Contrasting Sauces

4. Wraps benefit from a little moisture. Blend the dressing ingredients listed in the sidebar. Dip a piece of cooked kale in it to taste. If you prefer it hotter, add more Tapatio® sauce. If you want it sweeter, add more agave. You can even add a bit of garlic-pepper flakes or a pinch of salt until you're satisfied. Following the measurements provided will produce about a half cup of sauce, which is more than required. You can refrigerate what's left over for salad dressing the next few days.

5. My contrasting sauce is a balsamic reduction. It's good to keep some refrigerated in a squeeze bottle for plating. Simmering balsamic vinegar on a low heat until it's half the original volume concentrates the flavor, causing it to thicken and sweeten. Balsamic vinegar can be omitted but this is what really gets your attention when you bite down into the finished Chimiwrap.

 Chimiwrap Assembly

Some Assembly Required

6. There is flexibility with most ingredients. However, for another layer of flavor, see if you can locate the pungent horseradish cheddar cheese I found in the deli at Ralphs® market. Lay two slices on each tortilla.

    Tip 6A: Swiss cheese is very low in fat. Since cheese will melt, it may be shredded instead of sliced if more convenient. Vegans, may replace with avocado or Daiya® cheese.

Layer the sautéed onions and kale with ingredients from other two bowls lengthwise, parallel to the final tube. Add the uncooked julienned zucchini to fill in any pockets for a tight a wrap. Sprinkle seasoning and drizzle with a little dressing before rolling.

Place on lightly greased skillet with medium heat, flap side down. Turn three more times to gently brown on four sides. Transfer from skillet to cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut off ends to reveal contents and make a cut down the center.

For elegant plating, squeeze balsamic reduction using a quick zig zag motion. Arrange Chimiwraps so as not to conceal design completely. Drizzle more dressing on top of each if desired and serve. You have just elevated a traditional Mexican dish to a culinary masterpiece served on MyPlate With Style. Please share your reaction and any modifications below.

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References
  1. Trader Joe's. traderjoes.com @TraderJoesList ^
  2. If olive oil is high in fat, why is it considered healthy? mayoclinic.com ^
  3. Cooking Oil. en.wikipedia.org ^
  4. Sprouts Farmers Market. sprouts.com @sproutsfm ^
  5. Pepperplate recipe format by @ClinicalPosters. pepperplate.com
  6. Printable Recipe by ClinicalPosters.com