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Issue 75 - Sumptuous wraps

Scotland Magazine Issue 75
June 2014


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Sumptuous wraps

Sue Lawrence unwraps the Summer Season

The new wrap for the coming season is not something soft and luxurious to drape around your shoulders. It is something more fashionable than the has-been pashmina ; it is the food wrap. Wraps can be made with any flatbreads, the most popular being the flour tortilla ; the larger ones are best so you can put in plenty of filling before wrapping. There is a theory that wraps originated in the United States, from the American passion for Mexican-style burritos, which make for quick and easy eating : no fork or knife required, just two hands - and a pile of napkins, as they are invariably messy.

Flour tortillas should be warmed before filling - for a few seconds in a microwave or in foil in a warm oven for 10 minutes. When wrapping a tortilla there are two methods. The first makes a parcel, not a roll : place the fillings in a thick strip across the bottom third of the tortilla, then fold in the sides and roll away from you. Or scatter the filling all over and roll up, incorporating both bread and filling, creating a spiral . Usually the ends are cut off and the wrap cut on the bias - and if you are serving on plate, rather than eating straight from a paper bag, you can prop one half up on the other so they overlap appealingly. You can place the wraps - once rolled or folded - in a toasted sandwich grill, to seal in the filling and also keep them warm for longer.

Middle-eastern Lavash and Anatolian “village bread” are also used : both are pliable soft flatbreads. Lavash is usually rectangular and village bread is round. Both are large and therefore ideal for rolling into wraps. You can fill with almost anything but I suggest you stick to a theme. For example, a provencal wrap can be filled with salt cod brandade and roasted peppers, a Greek lamb wrap can be smeared first with huummus or baba ghanoush (smoky aubergine purée) then topped with stoned, chopped black olives or tabbouleh. It is essential to smear the wrap first with something like hummus, pesto, tapenade or guacamole - to help seal and also to keep everything moist. 

Pittas also make good wraps and I particularly like filling them with BLT, Caesar and Nicoise salads. You can also heat up some haggis and dollop that into a halved, warmed pitta then top with great dollops of garlicky tzatziki then enjoy in chilly, grey-skied Scotland while dreaming you are on a sun-filled azure-skied Greek island!

And if you don’t feel like making everyone’s wraps yourself, then go self-service and serve fajitas. For, once you have prepared everything - sipping margaritas all the while - all you need do is present the beef, salsa, sour cream and tortillas on the table. It is then up to your guests to get themselves in a mess as they indulge their own wrapping fantasies. So don’t forget the napkins.


Baba Ghanoush and roasted pepper wrap 

Use lavash or village bread or regular flour tortillas

2 large aubergines
2 large garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
The juice of 1 large lemon
3 tbsp tahini paste (stirred)
¼ tsp ground cumin warm flatbreads, roasted peppers, young spinach leaves, chopped black olives

Roast the aubergines (220C / 425F / Gas 7) for 35 minutes until charred and soft (or barbecue for 25 minutes) then cool, slit and scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Mash together with the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, cumin and seasoning to taste. (Or process briefly in a food processor).

To assemble, spread baba ghanoush over the warm flatbread, top with spinach, pepper slivers and olives. Fold or roll (as directed above), cut diagonally and serve.

Pitta Nicoise

100g/4 oz fine french beans, trimmed ½ large (or 1 medium) cos lettuce, washed, roughly torn
2 - 3 large tomatoes, diced
200g tin tuna, drained
25g / 1 oz anchovies, snipped
2 tbsp black olives, stoned, chopped
3 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
10 mini pittas OR 6 regular pittas

Blanch the beans for 2 minutes, plunge into cold water, drain and pat dry. Mix with the lettuce, tomatoes, tuna, anchovies, olives and eggs. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper, pour over the salad and toss gently.

Open the pittas at one end, pile in some salad, wrap each in foil or sandwich paper and eat within the hour.

Beef fajitas with Tequila salsa 

Start a couple of hours before for the marinade to work best.

750 g/I lb 10 oz skirt of beef (or rump)
The juice of 3 limes + lime wedges
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp crushed red chillies
2 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
2 heaped tbsp coriander stalks and leaves
3 tbsp sunflower oil warm flour tortillas, sour cream, shredded iceberg lettuce

Tequila salsa
4 - 5 plum tomatoes, diced
½ red onion, peeled, chopped
1 ripe avocado, diced
½ green chilli, finely chopped
2 - 3 tbsp Tequila
The juice of 1 lime

Cut the beef into very thin slices across the grain (or ask your butcher to do this) into bite-size pieces. Place in a bowl. Mix the lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, chillies, coriander stalks and 1 tbsp oil, tip over the beef. Marinate for 2 - 6 hours.

Combine all the salsa ingredients together, with 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves, salt and pepper.

Heat 2 frying pans (or cook in batches) - each with 1 tbsp oil - until very hot. Stir-fry the beef for about 3 minutes until just done.

To serve, place warm tortillas, salsa, shredded lettuce, soured cream, lime wedges and beef on the table. Everyone piles fillings onto their tortillas, folds up and devours.