Fresh Summer Spring Rolls

Fresh Summer Spring Rolls

  • 2 ounces of rice stick (thin) noodles (about 1/3 of a 6-ounce package)
  • 2 tablespoons sushi vinegar
  • 8 rice sheets, about 9 inches in diameter
  • 8 small lettuce leaves, heavy stems removed
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely julienned
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and finely julienned
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, Thai, if possible
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves

Optional additional fillings:
16 medium shrimp, cooked and peeled, or 1 cup shredded roast chicken or pork, or 8 lightly cooked bay scallops, halved

For dipping sauce:

  • juice of 1 lemon or 2 limes
  • equivalent amount of Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce
  • half that amount cold water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 hot chile, minced
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped roasted peanuts

Mix ingredients for dipping sauce, stirring until sugar dissolves. You can make it ahead and chill, but add the peanuts just before serving.

Soak the rice noodles in warm water for about 15 minutes. Bring a small pot of hot water to a brisk boil. Drain noodles and drop in boiling water for 45 seconds. Remove noodles and rinse in cold water. Drain again and place in a bowl, splashing with the sushi vinegar.

Get your fresh roll assembly line ready. Fill a pie plate or other shallow dish with hot water. Arrange a tea towel next to it, and have all your fillings prepared and at hand.

Working one at a time, submerge a rice sheet in the hot water while you count to 25. Remove the softened sheet and lay it on the tea towel. Picture the shape of a finished roll and use that mental guide to help you arrange in the middle of the rice sheet: a lettuce leaf (or a suitably-sized part of one), a small blob of noodles, a little clump each of carrots and cukes, and some cilantro and basil leaves (and of course a portion of any optional extras). Start at the bottom and fold up one edge of the sheet, then bring in the sides, and then roll the package snugly away from you.

If you are not serving instantly, line an airtight tub with a dampened, squeezed-out, paper towel. Store the rolls closed up tight in the fridge for up to 4 hours.

Cut in half crosswise and serve with sauce.

Makes 8 rolls.

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