Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Gawd It's Hot Out: Eat Summer Rolls

This week has been awful with the soaring temperatures and ridiculous humidity. DC is, after all, a swamp. On days like these, you don't want to really eat--at least nothing heavy. If you're sick of salads, smoothies, or gazpacho, you should try what the Vietnamese enjoy on sweltering days: summer rolls. How aptly named. They're great when you don't want to do a lot of cooking and want something light (but not boring). Here's the recipe from Joy of Cooking:

Makes 4 to 6 appetizer servings
If the rice paper you are using is especially fragile and is tearing, use 2 sheets far each summer roll. Immerse them as directed, then overlap 2 sheets in the middle by 4 inches. Bring to a rapid boil in a medium saucepan:
4 cups water
1 bundle Japanese somen noodles (about 2 1/2 ounces), broken in half
Boil until the noodles are just firm to the bite, about 2 minutes. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove the noodles to a colander; rinse with cold water.Add to the still-boiling water:
16 medium shrimp, in their shells
Boil until they turn pink and float to the surface, about 2 minutes. Drain in a colander, refresh with cold water, then peel and cut lengthwise in half. Rinse with cold water to remove the veins and drain on paper towels.Place the noodles and shrimp on a small baking sheet along with:
4 large leaves red-leaf or Boston lettuce, torn lengthwise in half and central ribs removed
1 large carrot, shredded
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
16 chives
Layout and cover with a damp dish towel:
Eight 12-inch round sheets rice paper
Lay a damp dish towel in front of you and have a large bowl of hot water (115 to 120 degrees F) at hand. Dip 1 sheet of rice paper into the hot water, being sure to immerse it completely. It will immediately become pliable. Quickly remove it and place on the towel.

Place a piece of lettuce along the bottom edge of the rice sheet about 2 inches from the edge. Top the lettuce with one-eighth of the cooked noodles, carrots, sprouts, mint, cilantro, and chives, then with 4 shrimp halves.

Fold the sides of the rice paper over the filling, and then roll up tightly into a neat cylinder. Set seam side down on a large platter and cover with a damp towel to keep moist. Repeat with the remaining rice paper and filling ingredients.
To serve, cut each roll crosswise into 4 even pieces. Serve immediately or the rice paper will toughen up.
A simple spicy sauce.Makes about 1 2/3 cups
Heat in a small saucepan over medium heat:
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Add and cool, stirring, for 5 seconds:
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small fresh chili pepper, seeded and minced
Add and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 4 minutes:
1 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter, preferably unsweetened
1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar, or to taste
3 tablespoons chopped unsalted roasted peanuts (optional)
Remove from the heat and stir in, if desired:
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
Serve warm or at room temperature.
This sauce will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week.

*It's too hot and I was too lazy to do the usual "Wednesdays" entry. Come back next week.

1 comment:

hoogrrl said...

This is one of the funniest entries you have ever posted.

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