Summer rolls are those delightful paper-thin rice disks that you dip in warm water to soften (no cooking!), fill with virtually anything you like, roll and dip in the sauce of your choice: I love the suggested Thai dipping sauce for these summer rolls, but you could use teriyaki sauce, or even a mixture of toasted sesame oil and soy sauce and nothing more. Seeing the filling through the translucent skins of the summer rolls makes it even more fun. It would be all right to make them earlier in the day, maybe even a day before, keep them refrigerated and bring them to room temperature at serving time, just as long as you don’t let the rolls touch, or they might get stuck: Just spray the summer rolls with vegetable spray and arrange them a little distance form each other.
Use your imagination and personal preference and use any filling you like, always keeping the selection short and to the point: rice noodles (soak in hot water, drain and cut smaller with scissors), diced cooked or smoked chicken, grated carrots, julienned snow peas, thinly sliced nappa cabbage, finely shredded kale, seaweed presoaked in hot water, chopped peanuts, etc.
Don’t let the fragile-looking disks daunt you: You might ruin and have to discard a couple before you get the hang of it, but you will have fun learning and rolling, right on the job!
- 1 romaine heart, shredded thin
- 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, caps only, sliced thin
- 1 pound mock crab, finely flaked (use your hands)
- 2 ribs celery, peeled and sliced very thin
- 4 scallions, sliced very thin
- 20 rice paper leaves
Thai dipping sauce:
- 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1/3 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 2” piece ginger
- 5 sprigs cilantro, tough stems cut off
- 1 jalapeno pepper, more if you like it hot
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
- -Cream all ingredients in a blender or food processor
Keep a pot of water barely simmering on a low flame. Mix all but last ingredient in a bowl.
Dip one rice paper leaf in the simmering water just a few seconds, turning it on all sides, until it is pliable, not a second longer. Place the leaf on a cutting board. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the mixture in the center. Roll the leaf tightly, bringing the sides into the center and rolling tightly all the way up. Place on a platter seam side down. Repeat with the remaining leaves and mixture. Be sure the rolls are not touching. (Spray the finished rolls with vegetable spray as an extra precaution.) Serve at room temperature with Thai dipping sauce (below).