Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Fresh herbs, leafy lettuce, crisp raw vegetables and tender shrimp are all wrapped up in a perfect little rice-paper package. These exquisitely fresh and tasty rolls are great for a light, week-night meal. They’re also smashing served as a cocktail hors d’oeuvre. For a nice variation, substitute tofu for shrimp, or cucumber and snow peas for carrots and bean sprouts.

  • 10 jumbo shrimp (21/25 count), peeled and deveined
  • 10 (12-inch) rice paper rounds, plus additional as needed
  • 5 leaves red leaf lettuce, crisped*, stems removed, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 ounces rice vermicelli, boiled for 1 minute, rinsed with cold water and drained well
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts, washed and drained well
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 5 to 6 green onions, green tops only, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup whole mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup whole cilantro leaves
Place a medium sauce pot of lightly salted water over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer; add shrimp and cook until pink and just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Drain in a colander, then plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Immediately drain the cooled shrimp to prevent excess water absorption. Pat dry with paper towels, then cut each shrimp in half lengthwise.

Pour 1 to 2 inches of very hot water into a flat dish large enough to accommodate a rice paper wrapper. Submerge a single wrapper in the water for 10 to 20 seconds; the wrapper will become very soft. Transfer wrapper to a work surface covered with a clean towel. Blot the surface of the rice paper lightly with a paper towel.

Place one rehydrated wrapper on a clean work surface, then place a piece of red lettuce on the lower half of it, leaving 3/4-inch borders on the sides. Place a small amount of the rice vermicelli, beans sprouts, carrots and green onions on top of the lettuce.

Fold the sides in and begin to roll one turn from the bottom. Place two shrimp halves (cut-side down) and several mint and cilantro leaves on the roll; continue rolling tightly into a cylinder. If the rice paper rounds begin to tear, use two sheets for each salad roll.

Just before serving, cut each roll in half on a sharp diagonal; serve with Ginger Lime Dipping Sauce and Hoisin Peanut Sauce, also on this site.

*To Crisp Lettuce: All leafy greens, including watercress, arugula, chard, romaine, iceberg, leaf lettuce and spinach, should be soaked briefly in a large basin of water. Lift greens out of water, shake off excess water and dry in a salad spinner (do this in batches, if necessary). To crisp, wrap in paper towels or linen towels (to absorb remaining moisture), place in a plastic bag and store in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator. If the greens are to be torn or cut into smaller pieces, it is best done just before the salad is dressed and served. Greens will stay crisp this way for up to two days.

Make It Ahead: These rolls can be assembled up to 4 hours in advance. To hold, cover with a damp paper towel and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Do not cut until just before serving.

Makes 10 spring rolls