Dinner Without Flames
May 27, 2009 10:35 pm
Updated: Jun. 8, 2009 4:52 pm
I didn't cook dinner. I chopped and I sliced and I rolled, but at no time did fire come into it. Not that I have anything against fire. Fire is good. It certainly makes eating most animal protein less creepy. And truth be told, one component of my dinner came into contact with heat at some point before I bought it. But someone else dealt with that part. I just paid for the convenience.
I did this to see if I could make dinner without turning on the oven, the stove, or even the outdoor grill. And I wanted something more interesting than a main dish salad. So I stopped at the store on the way home and picked up cooked shrimp, a mango, and an avocado. I already had lettuce and asparagus at home that I knew I had to use up. And I had a pack of Vietnamese rice paper wrappers that had been sitting in my pantry ever since that day in the distant past when I picked them up on a whim at the Asian grocery.
So I made fresh spring rolls with two dipping sauces, and felt mighty proud of my achievement. Now if only I could get my rolls to look pretty. Oh well. Practice, practice, practice.
I looked at lots of spring roll and lettuce wrap recipes on this site, and here's what I came up with:
18 Vietnamese rice paper wrappers, 8.5" round
12 ounces cooked medium shrimp
1 avocado, sliced
36 thin asparagus spears, blanched
1 bunch mint from my garden, thinly sliced
Lettuce leaves (I used a ruffled red leaf variety)
Dip one rice paper wrapper into warm water until it softens, about 15 to 20 seconds. (I used a 10" skillet and replenished the warm water when it got cool). Lay the damp wrapper flat on a damp dinner plate. Working from the left edge of the wrapper to the mid-point, place three shrimp in a line. Cover shrimp with a slice of avocado, two asparagus spears, and a generous sprinkle of mint. Top with lettuce so the ruffle is towards the edge of the wrapper. Fold the bottom edge of the wrapper over the filling, fold the right edge over, then roll up into a cylinder.
Serve immediately with Mango Sauce (made ahead of time from this brilliant recipe by Ryan Nomura, with whom I am now secretly in love on the strength of this sauce alone) and a hot chili dipping sauce (try the one from this gorgeous recipe by Paula. Give her spring rolls a try sometime, too.)
Now here's the thing. I only got my share of spring rolls because I happened to snag three for a photo. By the time I got back to the table, my husband and teenage son had wolfed down the rest. I'll take that as a compliment.
Now it's your turn to share your favorite no-cook meals, and I don't mean take-out. I'm looking for hot weather, summertime dishes that hit all the right spots.
Thanks for the visit, and happy cooking!
Fresh spring rolls with mango and chili sauces
Spring rolls before the wild rumpus began.