The Summer Roll

The Spring Roll, the Summer roll; have you ever seen a Fall or Winter Roll? Perhaps that’s a challenge I’ll take on near the end of the year.

I love buying these as a quick on-the-go lunch. The local grocery store makes nice ones with prawns or spicy chicken. But you’re never totally sure of the ingredients, and they’re quite expensive. So I figured – why not make them myself?

Of course, since I bought high quality shrimp and smoked salmon, they didn’t end up being much cheaper, but next time I might try vegan-style. If you don’t have access to good fresh seafood, this recipe could be done completely vegan, or toss in some chopped hard boiled egg, cooked chicken, or perhaps even a can of dolphin-friendly tuna.

Ingredients:
Rice paper wraps
Rice Vermicelli
Green leaf lettuce (or Romaine), washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
Smoked or candied salmon, cubed
Baby shrimp, peeled, de-veined, beheaded, tailed, cooked, washed, etc.
1-2 Avocados, peeled and diced
1 tomato, diced
Red onion, diced or sliced finely – I used about 1/3 of a medium-sized one, you might want more, or less.
Salt and pepper
Dipping sauce if desired. Suggestions? Chili sauce, soy sauce, peanut sauce, or Italian dressing.

And now I have to stand up and preach slightly for a moment. I love seafood. But I’m also environmentally conscious and want to preserve our oceans as best as possible. So I only buy fresh local seafood from my own side of the continent. Two bowls of shrimp side by side in the store, one is east coast, one is west coast – I’ll even pay almost twice as much for the local shrimp. Why? Well, for one thing, I don’t want my shrimp to have traveled further across the continent than I myself have. Our local grocery store often marks “Ocean Wise” products, those that promote sustainable seafood. These I’ll jump on. Frozen, processed, packed in Indonesia or Thailand? No thanks. Eat local!! (Unless of course you’re an inlander then…well…crayfish anyone?)
Learn more about Ocean Wise here

/end rant

Okay back to the makings of a delicious lunch.

After you’ve diced, peeled, sliced, and chopped all the veggies and salmon, mix them all together in a big ole salad bowl.

The salad mix

The salad mix

Cook the vermicelli according to package directions (I boil the water, then soak the noodles for a bit, drain, and rinse with cold water.)

Soaking the vermicelli noodles

Soaking the vermicelli noodles

For the rice wraps, there are many methods out there. This is how I do it.

First, find a frying pan just a bit bigger around than your rice wraps. Fill it about 1/2 inch or 1 cm deep with the hottest water that will come out of your tap. (But don’t burn yourself!) Set it on the countertop (or on the stove if, like me, you have limited counter space! But no need to turn the stove on)

Hot water in a pan

Hot water in a pan

Take one wrap, dip it into the water, and make sure it’s completely submerged.

Slide the wrap in

Slide the wrap in

Submerge

Submerge

Wait a second or two, then gently pull it out, allowing the water to drain off back into the pan. At this point, the wrap may still be slightly stiff. It’s okay – it’ll keep absorbing water and be just about perfect by the time you roll.

Pull out and allow to drain

Pull out and allow to drain

Place it on a plate. Add a couple of spoonfuls of the salad mix. Add a few strings of the vermicelli.
Fold the bottom (or the top, depending on your point of view!) up over the filling. Fold in the sides.

Add some filling and noodles

Add some filling and noodles

Fold over one end, then both sides

Fold over one end, then both sides

Finally, roll the wrap to close it.

And roll to complete!

And roll to complete!

Some people like to have the filling reach all the way out to one side, and just fold in the bottom, one side and the top. This leaves the summer roll open on one end, which is handy for dribbling in a little sauce. I prefer mine closed.

Repeat! And you’re done!
After doing 4 or so, you may find you need to refresh the hot water in the pan, or leave them submerged a bit longer each time.

If you want to make them in the evening and eat the next day, the rice wrap might dry out slightly. If this is the case, you can pack it in some tupperware with a damp paper towel and they’ll soon be nice and moist again.

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