No offense to Mr. Bittman, but his original recipe for these summer rolls, which I thoroughly manhandled to the point of unrecognizability (totally a word, by the way), is, well.
How can one call something a summer roll when it is not even slightly stuffed full of zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes, corn and all the best that this season has to offer...and still sleep at night?
Seriously, Mark. I had expectations. Tsk tsk.
So being the stickler for literal interpretation that I am, when I saw that Alyssa had chosen these summer rolls for this week's Food Matters Project pick, I knew some reinvention of the recipe was going to have to occur to make these more seasonally (and nominally) appropriate.
Out with the carrots and cucumbers, and in with some sweet chili sauce-roasted zucchini and eggplant. Add a smattering of peanut sauce on the side for dipping (because that is timeless) and you've got yourself a set of summer rolls that you can feel good about eating. Not only are they delicious, but they're good for you and you haven't misled any poor unfortunate impressionable souls by calling them one thing and stuffing them with another. Definite win, in my opinion.
Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce
Serves 4-8, adapted from The Food Matters Cookbook
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
- 4 tbsp honey
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- pinch of salt
- 1 zucchini, cut into matchsticks
- 2 small graffiti eggplant, cut into matchsticks
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
- 1/2 cup light coconut milk
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp thai red curry paste
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1/2 head Napa cabbage, shredded
- 8 sheets rice paper, 8 to 10 inches in diameter
- hot water, as needed
- Preheat oven to 375.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the 3 cloves minced garlic, red pepper flakes, honey rice vinegar, and salt. Toss together in a large bowl with the zucchini and eggplant matchsticks. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking tray and and roast in preheated oven for 20 minutes, stirring halfway.
- Process the peanuts, coconut milk, lime juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, curry paste and garlic in a food processor until fairly smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Set out a bowl of hot water and a clean kitchen towel.
- Put a sheet of rice paper in the water and let it soak for about 15-20 seconds, just until soft. Lay it on the towel.
- Place some cabbage and some of the roasted veggies on the bottom third of one rice paper. Don't use more than 1/2 cup per roll. Roll up the rice paper to enclose the filling, then tuck in the sides as you would a burrito. Keep rolling, then press the seam to seal. Serve with the dipping sauce on the side.