Putting in more Vietnamese into Slanted Door’s Grapefruit and Jicama Salad, I have adapted the recipe and served the salad as a springroll. The tantalizing sweet, sour, salty and spiciness of the springroll will surely tintilate your tastebuds. The chewiness of the rice paper lets you savor the flavors slowly, as each flavor unfolds from the various herbs as you chew. And it’s a beautiful dish, too. It’s like serving a Garden of Eden, wrapped in rice paper.
Chef’s tip: If you have to prep this ahead, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and do not place into the fridge. The coldness will turn the rice paper hard.
1/2 cup golden brown sugar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cups pecan halves
Nonstick vegetable oil spray and foil
1 shallot, sliced finely
1/3 cup of oil
Nuoc Cham Sauce:
1 tablespoon Sri Racha sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 Tablespoons sugar
5 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
4 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons fish sauce (sub with soy sauce for vegetarian option)
2 Tablespoons shallot oil (see above)
2 oz rice vermicelli
1/4 head of red cabbage, thinly julienned, makes 2 cups
1/4 head of napa cabbage, thinly julienned, makes 2 cups
1 large carrot, thinly julienned
1/2 small jicama, thinly julienned, makes 2 cups
1 large ruby grapefruit, peeled, membranes and seeds removed
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chiffonade
1/2 cup scallions, chiffonade
1/2 cup Rau Ram – polygonum (Vietnamese Mint), chiffonade
1/2 cup of Thai basil leaves, chiffonade
5 small pieces of butter lettuce, ribbed and tear into 2×3 inch pieces
1/2 cup mint leaves, whole
20 round 8-inch Vietnamese rice paper
Prepare the candied nuts:
1. In heavy medium skillet over medium heat, bring sugar, olive oil and vinegar to boil until sugar melts and syrup bubbles, about 3 minutes.
2. Mix in pecans and stir until nuts are toasted and syrup coats nuts evenly, about 7 minutes. Turn nuts out onto greased foil. Using fork, separate nuts and cool completely till harden. Break nuts into small pieces.
Prepare the sauce:
3. Make the shallot oil by frying sliced shallots in 1/3 cup of canola oil till golden brown.
4. In a small bowl, whisk Sri Racha, garlic, sugar, rice wine vinegar, water, fish sauce and 2 tablespoons of shallot oil together. Set aside.
Prepare the filling:
5. Bring salted water to boil. Drop rice vermicelli in, bring to boil again. Remove from heat, cover and soak for 15 minutes. Drain and fluff.
Prepare the slaw:
6. Using a food processor, mandoline or a sharp knife, shred both cabbages (2mm); julienne jicama and carrots finely into shoestring strips.
7. Place vegetables in separate bowls and toss with a tablespoon of Nuoc Cham each.
8. Peel grapefruit, remove skin, pith, membranes and seeds.
9. Chiffonade cilantro, scallion, Rau Ram and Thai basil and toss together to mix.
10. Remove ribs from butter lettuce and tear into 2 x 3 inch pieces each.
Assemble the springrolls:
11. Line a baking sheet with a damp tea towel and have another damp towel ready to cover the rolls. Line a cutting board with a third damp towel. Have all spring roll filling and vegetables mise en place.
12. Fill a large sauté pan with 2 inches of water. Add 1 spoon of sugar, bring water to a boil, then turn heat to very low. Working with one sheet of rice paper at a time, dip half the disc into the hot water, holding one corner with your fingers or a pair of chopsticks. Let it sit for about 5 seconds. Quickly dip the other half and remove and spread out flat on lined cutting board.
13. Lay a leaf of lettuce over the bottom third of the rice paper. Lay a thin layer of rice noodles on top of the lettuce. Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon of grapefruit sacs, 1 tablespoon herb mixture and 1 tablespoon of pecans. Lay a small amount of carrots, red and napa cabbage on top of the lettuce. Place 3 pieces of jicama sticks and press together to compact. Lay 2 pieces of mint down on the middle third of the rice paper.
14. Fold the left and right side over the filling. Holding the sides in place, fold the bottom flap up and roll the roll up into a tight cylinder. You want the mint to show through the wrapping. Lay the rolls flap side down on the moistened towel and cover with another moist towel until ready to serve (or cover tightly with Saran wrap). Patch any broken areas with small pieces of soaked, rice paper.
15. Serve: Cut the spring rolls into half crosswise and serve with nuoc cham dipping sauce.
Makes: 40 pieces.
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