These salad rolls make me feel like spring – pretty coral salmon, bright crunchy greens and bursting-in-your-mouth flavours.
We had them last night for supper and I’m craving them again today. My brain gears are churning – hmmm, what about some shrimp today? or maybe a bit of fresh dill or basil? I know, I could cut some baby corn cobs into sticks . . . and I’ll use that avocado in the fruit bowl . . .
Once you get the hang of using rice wrappers, the world is your . . . salad roll. Seriously. You can wrap up anything crispy and fresh in these, and they suddenly look like you planned them that way (just don’t tell people it’s last night’s leftover salad you’ve repackaged). There is little-to-no cooking involved, and it looks like you fussed. Serve these rolls with a bowl of tasty soup and you have a light ‘Soup and Salad’ meal with a new twist.
Salad rolls are wonderful for entertaining because you can make them several hours ahead, too. The no-cook rice paper wrappers are like a natural plastic clingwrap to keep the salad ingredients sealed-in and fresh. How slick is that? Cut them just before serving.
And if there are any left over, they make a fantastic packed lunch the next day, sealed in a plastic container with a little vial of dipping sauce alongside.
Check the ‘Wingin’ it’ section at the bottom of the recipe for lots of suggestions to make these salad rolls super easy. If you pick up a package of the rice papers on your way home from work, you probably have the fixin’s in your fridge and pantry to make these!
Kitchen Frau Notes: The rice paper wrappers (sometimes called spring roll skins, but not to be confused with spring roll wrappers, which are made of wheat flour and need to be cooked) are found in large supermarkets in the Asian section or in smaller import stores. They keep a long time on your pantry shelves, so are a handy thing to have on hand for whipping up a quick snack, light meal or appetizer. They come in large or small sizes. The larger (8½in/22cm) size works better for these types of salad rolls.
Spinach and Salmon Salad Rolls
Makes 8 or more rolls, serving 4
For the salad rolls:
- 12 oz. (350gm) fresh salmon fillets
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 8-10 rice paper wrappers (8½in/22cm)
- 4 small handfuls baby spinach leaves
- a 5 inch (13cm) length of English (thin-skinned) cucumber
- 2 carrots
- 3 to 4 green onions
- 8 sprigs fresh cilantro
For the drizzling sauce:
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
- 1 small clove garlic (or half a big one)
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
for the dipping sauce:
- ¼ cup (60ml) soy sauce (gluten-free if necessary)
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- a squirt of sriracha sauce or other hot sauce
Heat the olive oil n a skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle the salmon pieces with salt and pepper on both sides, then pan-sear them until just cooked through, about 2 or 3 minutes per side, but it will depend on the thickness. Remove from the heat to let cool.
Prepare the drizzling sauce by mixing all ingredients. Use a microplane grater to grate the ginger and garlic, and to zest the lime. If you don’t have one, finely mince these ingredients together or mash them in a mortar and pestle, then add them to the mayonnaise with the lime juice.
Prepare the dipping sauce by stirring all the ingredients together in a measuring cup, then dividing the mixture among 4 small dipping bowls.
Prepare the salad ingredients by cutting the cucumber piece in half, then cutting each piece into 2½ inch (6cm) sticks. Shred the carrot or cut it into fine julienne sticks. Cut the green onions into about 5 inch (13 cm) pieces, slicing the thicker white parts in half lengthwise.
Set out a flat dish (like a pie plate or skillet) and fill it with about a ½ inch (1.5cm) warm water. Set a flat plate at the front of your work surface.
Place one rice paper wrapper into the warm water for about 5 seconds, submerging it to make sure all surfaces are wet. Remove it to the plate, making sure it is laying flat, and leave it to soften for about 30 seconds.
The rice wraps look like they’d be delicate, but they are more forgiving than you think. As soon as the moistened wrap is pliable, lay down a small handful of spinach leaves in a strip, close to the end facing you. Lay the spinach so the leaves curl upward, making the wrap easier to roll. Dollop with about 2 teaspoons of the drizzling sauce.
Next, layer on a small handful of the cucumber sticks, a strip or two of green onion,
a handful of grated or julienned carrots, and a few chunks of the seared salmon.
Garnish the top with a couple sprigs of cilantro.
And roll up by starting at the edge nearest you and helping tuck in the salad with your fingers as you roll. As soon as you’ve rolled it around the filling once, fold over both side edges and keep rolling, tucking in the sides as you go. The wrap sticks to itself, holding the salad roll tight.
Don’t worry if they’re not perfect. You’ll get better with each one you make.
Slice them in half diagonally, and serve with the little bowls of dipping sauce.
For the protein in these rolls, try thawed, frozen precooked shrimp. You can cut them in half lengthwise and lay them on the wrapper first so they show through, or tuck them in the middle. Or use leftover cooked chicken or roast beef cut in strips, or strips of extra-firm tofu, or wedges of hard-boiled eggs. You could even use chunks of canned salmon, or leftover bits of other types of fish or leftover salmon from the night before.
For the veggies, you could use other greens – lettuce or arugula. Julienned sticks of celery, or shredded radishes, strips of sweet peppers, cooked beets, or avocado. Try canned baby corns cut into long strips, or canned water chestnut slices . . . maybe some finely shredded cabbage, or Napa cabbage. Snow peas or snap peas. Fresh bean sprouts, or finer types of sprouts would be divine. Use different herbs, like basil, parsley or dill.
You could even add a few strands of cooked rice noodles or spoonfuls of cooked rice or quinoa or other grain. Try adding a few chopped peanuts or other nuts or seeds, too.
For the drizzling sauce, substitute yogurt or Greek yogurt for some or all of the mayonnaise. Or just use bottled ranch dressing or another creamy dressing instead.
For the dipping sauce, use plain soy sauce, or soy sauce mixed with a blob of wasabi paste. Or use a bottled Thai sweet chili sauce or a bottled or homemade peanut sauce. Or any other sauce that tickles your fancy.
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