In France it was still Spring-ish weather–overcast, sometimes chilly, light drizzles here and there–and therefore completely acceptable to eat quiche and pastry for lunch everyday. Or brown bread with nutella for breakfast.
But here in Salt Lake it is HOT. It is in the 80s and the sometimes the 90s, plus it is dry. So, so dry. Like being baked in an oven. Quiche and pastry is too much. Okay, so maybe that’s exactly what I ate just last week when I went to Tulie with Allison, but I think we all know what I mean when I talk about Summer Food. Light, refreshing. Colorful. Like these fresh spring rolls that I learned to make last summer at Allison’s lovely apartment.
And now you can, too!
Fresh Summer Rolls
Rice wrappers, rice vermicelli (glass noodles), fruits/veggies of your choosing, and stuff to make dip-dip. It’s the year 2011 and this is America, so you should be able to find all of this at the grocery store, but if that fails, try the asian market. Their produce is usually cheaper, anyways.
All that stuff, plus a shallow dish of water and a clean dish-towel.
Step 1: Boil the rice vermicelli
They usually come in little nests, and one nest is good for 2 people, unless you’re crazy super hungry, which you’re probably not because it’s 92° out and it’s the desert and so dry and you don’t even care about eating anymore.
Oh, but food-wise: we added chicken broth to the water, for enhanced noodle flavoring. The noodles boil super quick, maybe 3 minutes? Or less. Then afterwards you have to drain them, but you know this.
Step 2: Cut up your fruits -n- veg
We did mango, avocado, mint, carrots, and sprouts. This is my personal favorite combination, but you can kind of do whatever you want. Some people even like to throw in boiled shrimp or maybe pork, but then it’s not light summer fare anymore, is it? Regardless, you’re going to want to cut things up into little strips, or use a potato peeler, like we did with the carrots.
Step 3: Prepare your station
From left to right: pre-cut fruits and veggies, pre-cooked glass noodles (cooled down by now), clean dish-towel, rice wrappers, and a shallow pan of water. Ducks in a row, friends.
Step 4: Prepare your wrapper
The wrappers come packaged hard and brittle, but we want them to be soft and pliable. So gently soak your wrapper, moving it around a bit, for about a minute (maybe less), until it is soft enough to work with. Then transfer it to the towel, BUT BE CAREFUL!!! These things are sticky like Saran Wrap, and once you let part of the wrapper touch itself, it’s over. It will never un-stick.
Once you’ve gently laid your wrapper down (like a baby), fold the towel over and blot off any excess water. Gently, friends, gently.
Step 5: Pile on the ingredients and roll it up
Start with the noodles and then add a little bit of everything else. Don’t go overboard; you’re going to need enough spare wrapper to roll this thing up, burrito-style. It should look about like this:
Then fold it up–fold in the sides (left and right, if we’re looking at it as pictured above), fold the bottom part up over the filling, and then roll it up. Ta-da! Still, though, be careful, because it is so sticky and unruly, this moistened rice wrapper of ours.
Repeat steps 4 and 5 until all of your ingredients are gone. This should yield about 3 rolls per person.
Step 6: Make some dipping sauce
I really have no formal recipe for this. Just use whatever’s in the fridge. We used Sriracha, some peanut-y sauce, and sushi unagi sauce. House-sitting for an Asian Studies professor means that all of this was readily available.
But another yummy and easy combination is Hoisin sauce (plum sauce–you can find it at most grocery stores), peanut butter (all natural, no gross Skippy or Jiffy stuff), and soy sauce. Easy. Done.
Step 7: Enjoy!
And then let me know what you think! I’d love to hear about variations in the filling or the sauces.
Oh, also, Happy 4th of July! Celebrate by purchasing all of these “ethnic” ingredients at your local grocery store. Just one of many reasons why America is so great, right?