Tuesday, June 12, 2007

WFD? Shrimp and Asparagus Summer Rolls with Avocado Puree

Last weekend the air was filled with the sounds of revving engines as it was Grand Prix weekend and all the Formula 1 cars were blowing smoke around Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Even though we live a good 20 kilometers from the racetrack, I can hear the cars from my own backyard. As Noah and I got dirty in the garden under the warm sun, I tried to think of another sound that signaled the start of summer in Montreal, but the F1 cars seemed pretty significant.
Every year around here we ask each other "It's Grand Prix all ready??" as if we can't believe the spring rains are finally over and the summer is here for a while.
For those hot days where you don't want to turn the oven on or even stand over a barbeque, there are spring rolls- or summer rolls as some of us call them. (I've even been known to call them 'clean-out-the-fridge-rolls' when they end up being way to use up scrap vegetables). They are refreshing, enjoyable to make and usually disappear as fast as I can roll them around here!

Quebec asparagus is cheaper than many other green veggies right now and I had a fat bunch sitting in my fridge. I found some frozen shrimp I had forgotten about, pinched a mango from Noah's stash of fruit, and the filling for these rolls just came together.
If you've always had spring rolls just with peanut sauce, you must try this avocado puree for something different. It's rich and feels almost decadent, but is simple to make. Make sure the avocado flesh is void of any brown parts.

Summer Rolls

12 medium shrimp, (about 6 ounces), peeled and deveined
3 ounces rice vermicelli
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Salt to taste
16 round 8-inch rice-paper wrappers
1 medium carrot, peeled and julienned
1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh basil leaves, preferably Thai,
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves,
1 mango, peeled, seeded, and julienned
Juice of 1 lime
6 ounces (about 16 spears) pencil asparagus, blanched and trimmed to about 4 inches
micro chives, for garnish

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Add shrimp; cook until pink and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Slice cooked shrimp in half lengthwise. Cool, then toss with lime juice and a few pinches of salt. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, cover rice vermicelli with hot water by 2 inches; let soak for 10 minutes. Drain, and rinse under cold water. Toss with basil, cilantro, rice vinegar and sesame oil. Set aside.
  3. Have all ingredients ready for rolling the spring rolls: carrot, mango, seasoned rice noodles, shrimp, asparagus and mint leaves.
  4. Fill a dish or your kitchen sink with warm water. Working with 1 rice-paper wrapper at a time, soak in water for 30 seconds; immediately lay flat on a damp towel. Smooth to remove wrinkles, than fold up the bottom quarter toward the top. Working with your hands, place about two tablespoons of the rice noodles on the folded up part of the wrapper. Place a few asparagus spears, carrot, mango and shrimp on top of the noodles. Add a mint leaf slightly above the rest of the filling.
  5. Fold sides of the wrapper in toward the middle and roll the summer roll up, keeping the filling tightly pressed together. Tuck a few mini chives in to the side before you roll it all the way. Place roll on a plate and cover with a damp towel
  6. Repeat with remaining rice-paper sheets and filling. Chill summer rolls until ready to serve. Slice summer rolls in half to show the vibrant colors inside and serve with avocado puree or peanut sauce.

Avocado Puree

1 ripe avocado
2 Tablespoons whole milk
salt to taste

Divide avocado in half and remove seed. With a spoon, scoop out flesh in to a glass measuring cup. Add milk and using a hand held blender, blend until smooth. Try to keep the blades submerged at all times so as to incorporate as little air as possible.
Season with salt, cover top with plastic wrap and refrigerate until used. May keep up to six hours before starting to discolor.


Anonymous said...

Those look wonderful - the perfect cool dinner for a hot summer day! I like your prep shots - very helpful as I've never seen something like this prepared before.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Fantastic! These sound and look perfect. Really fresh and the avacado puree... Mmmm.

Nora B. said...

What a great idea - I never thought of using asparagus and serving the avocado as a puree. Can't wait for summer to come round so that i can try this - I am sure everyone will be impressed! Thank you! p/s: you did a great job of wrapping the rolls, very elegant!

Anonymous said...

Aimée--I just discovered your blog. This dish sounds wonderful! And your writing is so thoughtful and clear in its discussion of food and why you do the things you do. I've already bookmarked you. I will be back.

Aimée said...

Hi Lynn- thanks so much! I guess a picture is worth a thousand words, eh?

Hi Amanda- thanks! Yes they are rather refreshing and the mint takes care of your breath, too!

Hi Nora- I like the crunch the asparagus gives. Sometimes if you put avocado inside it just squishes and makes a big mess.
And yes, these make a great party food.

Terry- Hello and welcome to UtHC!!Thank you so much for your imput and I hope you do return.

Warda said...

Brilliant! That's Brilliant! I love the combination of mango and avocado together in a spring roll. That sounds so reffreshing.

Anh said...

I think the Vietnamese (like myself) are so delighted to see so many versions of summer roll in the west! The avocado puree is such a lovely addition. I know that it will taste sooo good!

Sandy said...

Aimee, I am amazed at the lovely things you prepare while caring for your little one. Not only does it look delicious, it is also beautiful!

Aimée said...

Hi Rose! Thanks so much! I know you enjoy wandering the produce markets..this was inspired there.

Hi Ahn! Welcome to UtHC! Nice of you to drop by.

Hi Sandy! Thank you! Hope your Cape Cod holiday was relaxing and fun!

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