April 1, 2008
Vietnamese Shrimp Rolls
Serves 4 as an entrée; 8 as an appetizer
These healthy shrimp rolls epitomize Vietnamese cuisine, which is characterized by the use of raw vegetables and light sauces—the perfect formula for springtime dining. They make a great appetizer (allow two per person) or main dish if you serve four per person and accompany with a hearty Asian-inspired soup or spicy vegetarian or chicken or shrimp stir-fry. Asian dishes often pair well with off-dry Rieslings. Washington State’s venerable Chateau Ste. Michelle is one of the world’s leading producers of the Riesling varietal, and makes several distinguished versions, including one of my favorites—Eroica—in conjunction with esteemed German winemaker Ernst Loosen. Another top producer is Long Shadows, which makes the always-lovely Poet’s Leap Riesling.
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc nam)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 pounds pink (bay or salad) shrimp, rinsed, drained, and patted dry
16 pieces rice paper
16 soft lettuce leaves, such as Bibb, red or green leaf, or iceberg
2 cups bean sprouts, rinsed, drained, and patted dry
2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup crushed unsalted peanuts
4 green onions, roots and tips removed, cut into 1/8-inch rounds
Fresh basil leaves or fresh mint leaves
Hoisin Dipping Sauce (Recipe follows)
1. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Add the salad shrimp and toss well to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate.
2. Take out 2 large plates and pour 1/4 inch warm water into one of them. Place 1 piece of rice paper in the water and soak for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until pliable. Do not allow to soak too long or the rice paper will tear. Remove the rice paper to a dry plate, then repeat the process with the remaining rice paper sheets.
3. Place lettuce leaves around the perimeter of a large serving platter. Put the shrimp in a serving bowl and place in the center of the platter. Put the bean sprouts, carrots, peanuts, green onions, and basil leaves in separate piles around the shrimp.
4. To serve, place the rice paper, prepared platter, and Hoisin Dipping Sauce on the table and allow everyone to make their own shrimp rolls by lining a piece of rice paper with a lettuce leaf and adding vegetables, shrimp, peanuts, and basil leaves and folding or rolling to close. The shrimp rolls can then be dunked in the sauce.
Hoisin Dipping Sauce
Makes about 3/4 cup
6 tablespoons hoisin sauce
6 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce or low-sodium soy sauce
1. In a small mixing bowl stir together the hoisin sauce, seasoned rice vinegar, and soy sauce. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate.
Recipe reprinted from the Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook, Gift Edition (Ten Speed Press, 2005) by Braiden Rex-Johnson.