Wild Flavors: Summer Rolls for Spring/Summer

by Daisy

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I made summer rolls from Didi Emmonds’ new book, Wild Flavors.

It was an unassuming recipe and I didn’t have huge expectations because of its simplicity.

But when I served it and we dug in, I kept saying to my husband, “This is really good, isn’t it?  Why is this so good?”

It was so good, it made me feel good.

Ever eat something like that, where you get a little rush of endorphins afterwards?  Maybe it was the capsaicin in the nuoc cham dipping sauce, maybe it was the intensity of the fresh grown herbs and greens, maybe it was my imagination, but I was dazzled.

This was the perfect meal for the day after Thanksgiving, when, unbelievably, we were hungry despite having had two Thanksgiving meals the day before.  Yup.

It was the anti-Thanksgiving meal, and it was perfect.

It’s greens, herbs, and soba noodles wrapped in spring roll rounds served with a spicy dipping sauce.  That’s it.  But the effect of the individual elements, when combined, is greater than the sum of its parts.

Fresh greens and herbs from the garden: tatsoi, arugula, mustards, sorrel, chives, parsley and, light of my life, pea greens.  They taste like the freshest raw baby green peas,

Soba noodles

This was my first experience softening spring roll wrappers.  The wrappers go in the boiling hot water for a moment, then you lay them on the counter. I thought I had reached the fail portion of the spring roll experience because they wanted to cling, but those puppies are tough to mess up.  You can rassle with them and they don’t tear (much).

Put on the soba noodles, greens and herbs.  That’s my bright yellow counter.

And wrap.  And shield your eyes from my countertops.

They really are that yellow.

Aside:  Did you know, if you have outdated, shockingly-hued kitchen counters, that you don’t have to replace them?  It’s true.  I checked.

Make the sauce:

Perfect combo of tang (lime), heat (chili paste), garlic (garlic), asian zing and saltiness (fish sauce), and just enough maple to balance the lime juice.  I really think this sauce is where the magic happened.

But it could be the greens and herbs.

And of course it was both.

P.S.  Here’s the book.  We’re giving away two copies Dec. 7, but first I’m going to find another sleeper of a recipe to cook very soon.


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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

queen of string November 25, 2011 at 9:03 pm

It could very well be the sauce. There’s something about the fish sauce/lime/chilli combo that is just OMG good. I got a craving for it just reading the recipe!

ranch101 November 25, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Our cupboards are painted to match your counter, and they’re accompanied by the most blinding blue tiles all over the walls and counters. When I first saw a picture of the kitchen in a real estate listing, I crossed the house of the list of possibilities. We wound up here anyway. It’s been 4 years, and I haven’t done anything about it except complain, so I guess I should just get over that. 🙂

Sarah November 25, 2011 at 11:16 pm

This recipe makes me so happy. I was cleaning out the cupboards the other day and found most of a package of spring roll wrappers. Now i know what to do with them!

kimmypoo November 26, 2011 at 4:14 am

I didn’t know you could eat pea greens. This is perfect because my pea plants aren’t really producing, so at least they won’t go to waste. What other edible greens are there that you wouldn’t normally think about eating?

ChickenWhisperer November 26, 2011 at 4:14 am

Love the recipe! I am vegetarian and this is perfect, my kind of food! Oh, and I didn’t notice the color of the counter until you mentionned it, I was too engrossed with the food! Who cares about the counter, right? LOL

Christi November 26, 2011 at 5:19 am

Thank you for this recipe. I am starting an indoor herb and salad garden….now I know just what I want to plant!
Christi who enjoyed a white Thanksgiving in Maine

Patty November 26, 2011 at 10:19 am

Yummy! And it looks so easy, too!

herbi aka heather November 26, 2011 at 10:35 am

I have a dear friend originally from Jakarta who has ingredients like these in her kitchen. This made me think of her-great warm fuzzies-she has moved many hours away so I dont get to eat her cooking anymore : ( She made Lumpia that almost made me cry it was so good. Introduced me to Jackfruit too-goofy food she has but it is fantastic to get acquainted with another culture’s culinary goodies.

Carol Durusau November 26, 2011 at 5:53 pm

That looks great! I love spring rolls. How do you sign up to win the book?

Tomato Lady November 26, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Carol Durusau–Hi Carol. They were good. I’m already planning a new batch.
I will post the giveaway on Dec. 7, Wednesday. We’ll have more about the book and exactly how to sign up on that date. I’m picking out the next recipe from it I want to try now.

Deanna November 29, 2011 at 8:46 am

Ok, I’m drooling! Those flavors sound so vibrant I’ll definitely have to try this!

JavaLady November 30, 2011 at 2:10 am

Wow. Those look fantastic !! Tell me about soba noodles? What are they made of and where can we typically find them ? I tread carefully when in an oriental food store. By that I mean, I read every single label !! Two of my kids have shell fish allergies so there isn’t a lot that I can buy in the oriental foods stores. Hosin sauce is usually safe for us, would I be able to substitute that in here ? or can you recommend something else for the sauce that is “shell fish & sea food Free” ?? We can’t even buy good old dorm food , aka, Ramen noodles because many of the ”sauce” packets contain sea food ingredients and massive amounts of MSG.

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