Summer rolls, also known as fresh spring rolls, are a refreshing light dish to make with rice paper wrappers rolled around fresh crunchy vegetables, chilled shrimp, fresh herbs, and rice noodles. Dip your summer rolls in an easy blender-made spicy peanut sauce to compliment the crunchy vegetables. Not dense like a fried Asian roll, these refreshingly delicious bites will have you thinking of the coming summer days.
Vietnamese summer roll is not at all difficult to make. If you’re careful not to overstuff, the rice paper rounds are very forgiving. The process might look intimidating but is quite simple. In fact, the more you make, the easier it gets. Be sure to use soft lettuce leaves, like Bibb or Boston, rather than crispy like an iceberg, so they wrap nicely around your vegetables.
4 ounces rice vermicelli noodles
8 jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, and butterflied open
8 rice paper rounds, 8-9” in diameter
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves only
½ cup enoki mushrooms, available at Whole Foods and Asian Grocery Stores
24 matchstick cut pieces cucumber, cut as long as the shrimp
24 matchstick cut pieces carrot, cut, as long as the shrimp
8 green soft lettuce leaves
1″ piece ginger, peeled, chopped
1 small garlic clove, chopped
½ cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
¼ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped, salted peanuts
Preheat the oven to 325˚ degrees. Skewer the shrimp to hold them flat and open. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 5-6 minutes until done. Cool and remove the skewers.
Bring a pot of water to 180˚F. Put noodles in a large bowl. Pour enough water over to cover; let stand until softened about 5 minutes. Drain and immediately transfer to a large bowl of ice water to cool; drain and set aside.
Fill a flat shallow dish, like a pie pan, with warm water. Working with 1 rice paper round at a time, soak rice paper in water, occasionally turning, until just pliable but not limp, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a work surface – preferably marble or a similar slick non-porous surface. Arrange a shrimp in the center of the rice paper round. Top with some cilantro, 3 matchstick-cut cucumbers, and 3 matchstick-cut carrots. Arrange a small handful of noodles and enoki mushrooms over the vegetables; place 1 lettuce leaf over the top of all the vegetables. Fold the bottom up and over filling, then fold in ends and roll like a burrito into a tight cylinder. Transfer roll, seam side down, to a platter. Repeat to make 7 more rolls. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and refrigerate.
In a blender combine the ginger, garlic clove, peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, toasted sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and blend, adding tablespoons of water, if needed, to thin until smooth. Pour into a serving bowl and top with chopped peanuts.
Cut rolls in half on diagonal and serve with the peanut sauce. Makes 4 servings, 2 rolls each.