Last summer Adam and I made boatloads of summer rolls with all sorts of veggies. You could always tell which ones Adam had wrapped because they were the size of super burritos. We always put tofu in our summer rolls, which I love, but I was tofu-less this weekend, so I used leftover bbq salmon and made a bbq peanut sauce for dipping, because what is a summer roll if not a fantastic dipping vehicle?
Summer rolls should always have 5 ingredients: noodles, a crispy or crunchy veggie (cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers), lettuce or a leafy green, protein, and herbs (basil, mint, scallions). I used Chinese water spinach, gluten-free mung bean soba noodles; cooked bbq salmon, quick-pickled cucumbers, and mint. Traditionally, you could use rice vermicelli, lettuce, shredded pickled carrots, cooked shrimp or firm tofu, and mint. I like my summer rolls to be a bit more nutrient packed, so I often use leafy baby greens instead of lettuce, add sliced bell peppers, and use buckwheat or mung bean soba noodles instead of white rice noodles. Feel free to experiment! That’s the fun of it.
Then there must always be a generous bowl of sauce to plunge them in. Peanut, chili garlic, and black bean sauce are all good. I went a little off the beaten path this time and stirred some Kansas City style bbq sauce into my peanut butter base. It was phenom! Trust me, it was tangy sweet, a little spicy, salty, creamy, and nutty.
- Take the salmon out of the refrigerator to bring it to room temperature.
- Cook the soba noodles according to package instructions, then drain immediately and rinse under cold water. Toss with sesame oil to prevent the noodles from clumping.
- Dissolve sugar in rice wine vinegar, then toss with the cucumber slices. Refrigerate while you cook the salmon.
- Warm a pan with a little oil on medium-high and cook the salmon skin side down for 5 minutes. Flip the salmon over, cook for another 5 minutes, and peel the skin off. Set the salmon aside to cool.
- When ready to assemble, dip a sheet of rice paper in the water until just starting to soften (do not let it completely soften!). Lay the wrapper on a plate (I find that it helps to wet the plate a little too before starting). Layer your ingredients horizontally in the center of the wrapper. Fold the edge closest to you over the ingredients and tuck them in to create a tight roll, then roll over once to seal. Fold the sides over towards the center, stretching gently to pack in the ends. Roll upwards until the upper edge is sealed. Here is a great picture tutorial on rolling summer rolls.
- Whisk together all ingredients, except for salt, until smooth.
- Add salt to taste.