We spent all of last week away from home. First, a road trip to pick up my daughter who has been staying with her aunts in San Francisco, then five days of camping in Northern California and Central Oregon. It was fantastic. We came home happy and relaxed (if a bit dirty and sunburnt).
Tired of camping food, (I am a lazy and unimaginative camp cook), I was excited to get back in the kitchen, but we are having a rare heat wave here. It’s HOT in a way our Northwest home and kitchen is not set up to handle. I didn’t even want to stand over the grill in the yard.
Salad rolls were the answer. We made them in the morning, so that in the end of the day heat, all we had to do was pull them out of the fridge and mix a cocktail. If you have not worked with the paper-thin rice wrappers before, they can be a little frustrating. Take your time and you will get the hang of it.
Our Salad Rolls
Rice spring roll wrappers
Rice vermicelli noodles, soaked in boiling water until soft (3-5 minutes), then drained and rinsed with cool water
Filling options (pick and choose to suit your own tastes):
Baked tofu, cut in strips
Shredded lettuce or cabbage
Carrot (in strips or grated)
Green onion, sliced lengthwise
Steamed and cooled asparagus
Micro-greens or pea shoots
Fresh herbs (mint, basil, cilantro)
Prep and gather all your ingredients. Wet a clean dish towel and lay it out on your work surface. Fill a shallow container that is large enough to fit a sheet of the rice wrapper with hot water (a cake pan works great).
Dip the rice wrapper in the water and swirl just to soften a bit. Gently lay it flat on the wet towel. Place a few tablespoons of the noodles on the bottom third of the wrapper then add the rest of your fillings. As you are learning to work with the rice wrapper, less filling is easier to work with than an overfilled roll. Fold in the bottom portion of the wrapper around the filling followed by the sides, as you would a burrito. Gently roll up, tucking the fillings inside as you go. This may take some practice. The rice wrapper may tear—take a deep breath and start again. We like to tuck a basil or mint leaf in the last portion of the wrapper before we roll it up.. Eat immediately or chill in the fridge covered with a damp towel. Serve with peanut sauce or hoisin sauce thinned with a bit of water.