We were having one of those... we’re really not on the ‘same page’ kind of menu planning days. We both wanted salmon that was the only common denominator. G was thinking more; cedar planked and rubbed with some yummy spices. I was thinking, “let’s trying something different.”
I had just read Diane’s post on White On Rice Couple’s blog post about fresh spring rolls. She had some great tutorials and always has photos that inspire my thinking. She shared her love for all things spring rolls and how she often tries to change it up a bit from the typical pork or shrimp spring rolls, think BLT spring rolls.
This got my recipe tweaking brain parts thinking.
"What if we made spring rolls with the grilled salmon. Mmmmm....I thought , I might be on to something here.” I shared my idea with G, he was less than initially tempted but ultimately is starting to understand “Happy Wife = Happy Life” so he said, “Sure, let’s give it a try if you want to.” Meaning he thought they didn’t sound very good but he knew I was pretty solid on wanting to give this idea a try.
Actually we used to make fresh spring rolls a bit more frequently than we have been lately. We’ve been known to even host a make your own fresh spring roll party or two or three in our time together. Which are always an interactive, hands-on way to get everyone involved in the kitchen.
My love for making spring rolls actually started early in my teaching career. One of my fellow teaching colleagues, Jim Warnke, hosted an after school spring roll party in his room. He showed us how to soak the skins and wrap the rolls. Being that was at least 15 or 16 years ago I can’t remember what prompted this after school gathering or any of the details. And it does seem like an odd at school activity but regardless whenever we make spring rolls I think of that experience and it was him who then inspired us to try hosting similar parties on our own. I haven’t seem Mr. Warnke in years but this memory always makes me smile and I remember his personality in general always made me smile and coming to work fun.
We rubbed and grilled our salmon as we typically do and then let it sit and come to room temperature.
I then prepped ingredients that I thought would pair well with salmon (grilled asparagus and sliced avocado) to wrap with the more typical spring roll makings (cucumber slices, red leaf lettuce, cilantro, rice stick noodles.)
I additionally made our favorite chile sauce for dipping our salmon rolls. Once everything was prepped and ready for assembling I started the rice paper soaking and rolling. It was about this time that I thought, “Oh yeah, I forgot how temperamental these wrappers can be, maybe this is why I haven’t done this in awhile.” The good thing is the package of wrappers comes with far more than we would ever need so a few torn test wrappers was no reason to give up.
Once I kind of got the hang of it again I was able to wrap a good amount of rolls. Mind you not nearly as lovely and sturdy looking as Diane’s appeared to be. But they were edible at least for a bite or two before they sort of just needed to be stuffed in your mouth all at once to not drop all the goodies inside. Definitely not a graceful eating experience.
But G’s was in LOVE. He said, “Babe, these are the sh_ _.” Which around here means they were fantastic. And they were. Especially paired with the chile sauce we typically use for our shrimp & pork spring rolls. I wasn’t convinced at first that this would be a good match but went with it anyway. They were light and fresh and the salmon was the perfect protein with the crisp (cucumber, lettuce & avocado) and the creamy (avocado) ingredients.
I knew I had come onto something when the first thing G said when he got up the next morning was, “ I want some more of the salmon spring rolls.” Yep, it was one of those times where I felt like gloating and saying, “ I told you so.” But I kept that thought to myself and just smiled and said, “Yep, we’ll need to make those again soon.” And truth be told I’m already plotting making them again next week.
To see a great tutorial on how to best wrap your spring rolls go to White On Rice Couple’s blog and read Diane’s step by step process.
Fresh Spring Rolls with Grilled Salmon
1/2 lb fresh salmon filet
2 Tblspn Rub with Love for Salmon
1/2 Cucumber, seeded and sliced into sticks
1/4 lb aparagus, grilled, blanched and cut into sticks
1 avocado, sliced
8 red leaf lettuce leafs, rinsed
1 bunch clean cilantro
1 bag rice stick noodles (cook as directed by package)
1 package rice paper spring roll wrappers
Rub salmon with seasoning. Grill until done. Remove from grill let sit at room temperature. Once salmon is cool cut into slices to be wrapped in spring rolls. Prep all spring roll ingredients. Try to cut cucumber and asparagus to similar lengths. Have all ingredients organized and laid out for easy assembling.
Carefully soak wrappers in luke warm water one at a time. Soak them only enough to soften or they will start to tear. (If you tear one throw it out and try again. It might take a few test wrappers until you get the feel for how long to soak them.) Once wrapper is pliable lay it on cutting board. Start layering; lettuce, cilantro, cucumber, asparagus, salmon, rice noodles. Keep ingredients in to one side of the wrapper. Fold bottom third up over ingredients. Then tightly hold ingredients as you wrap wrapper around (think burrito style.) Stack rolls on plate. Best eaten right away with the chile dipping sauce.
Chile Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoon Garlic Chile Sauce
Heat vinegar and half of the sugar in saucepan on stove until sugar dissolves. Add remainder of sugar and salt until full dissolved. Remove from heat, stir in garlic chile sauce. Set aside until ready to serve.