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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

Summer Rolls and Nước Chấm

After getting a bounty of edible flowers from Farmer Janna Jo at the Earthbound Farm Stand, I knew that I wanted to make fresh summer rolls whose transparent rice papers would showcase those gorgeous blooms for my collaborative Mothers' Day Happy Hour with The Quail & Olive and Big Sur Vineyards.



Nước Chấm


Nước Chấm a ubiquitous Vietnamese dipping sauce. It's a blend of fish sauce, water, sugar, citrus, and spice. Typically it's made with freshly squeezed lime juice; I swapped in the Kaffir Lime Vinegar from The Quail & Olive.



Ingredients

This is easily doubled or halved as you need. Just keep the ratio of 1:1:2 of fish sauce to citrus (or vinegar) to water. And you can adjust the sweetness to your liking, but my usual is 1 Tablespoon sugar to each 1/2 cup of water.


  • 1 cup water

  • 4 Tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup fish sauce

  • 1/2 cup Kaffir Lime Vinegar plus more as needed

  • 2 green onions, trimmed and chopped

  • 1 Tablespoon carrot, finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemongrass

  • 1 teaspoon garlic, peeled and pressed

  • 1 to 2 red Thai chile, thinly sliced

  • Also needed: a large lidded jar


Procedure

Place water and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat until steaming. Swirl the pan to dissolve the sugar completely. In a lidded jar, pour in the fish sauce and vinegar. Add in the carrots, ginger, lemongrass, garlic, and Thai chile. Pour in the syrup and stir till combined. Stir again just before serving.


Summer Rolls


I have always called these 'Fresh Spring Rolls', then I learned that people call them 'Summer Rolls.' Even more perfect with a summer dish and a summer wine.



Ingredients

  • 24 rice paper rounds

2 cups each

  • julienned carrots (I used purple carrots)

  • thinly sliced bell peppers (I used red, yellow, and orange peppers)

  • thinly sliced zucchini

  • thinly sliced radishes

  • trimmed beech mushrooms

  • blanched asparagus, cut to 2-inch lengths

  • blanched green beans, cut to 2-inch lengths

  • quick pickled julienned carrots and daikon radishes

  • quick pickled thinly sliced red onions

  • edible flowers

4 cups each

  • fresh herbs (I used cilantro, parsley, mint, and basil), destemmed and torn

  • prepared bean thread noodles tossed with toasted sesame oil to keep them from sticking (cut noodles to 3-inch lengths

  • Also needed: water for dipping rice paper rounds, Nước Chấm for serving


Procedure


Fill a pie pan with cold water. One at a time, dip 1 sheet of rice paper in the cold water for 15 to 20 seconds to soften slightly. You will get a feel for how pliable you need the paper to roll. Place wrapper on a clean work surface


Place the flowers facedown on the wrapper. Top with herbs (the green is a great contrast to the flowers), then noodles and veggies. The order isn't important just get as many colors and textures as you can.


Fold short ends over the filling and roll as tightly as you can to enclose. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Keep the rolls separated as they will stick together if they touch.



Serve at room temperature with the dipping sauce.

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