by Elizabeth Dengler, The Huckleberry Home
Before we were married, one of my husband and my favorite date night activities was picking up a to-go order from the Thai restaurant down the street and watching old episodes of the Rockford Files. I know, we’re wild. In addition to our curry order and pineapple fried rice we would always get an order of Fresh Spring Rolls. The fresh rolls were made up of green leafy lettuce, rice noodles, carrots, shrimp and bean sprouts rolled up in a rice paper wrapper with a side of peanut sauce for dipping. They were our favorite and then became a favorite of our kids. When we moved away I told my husband how I wish we could just run over and get an order of Fresh Rolls. Then, I got to thinking, I could probably make them, after all I do know how to roll things up. My husband then drops a bomb, “Can you make it without the wrapper? It’s my least favorite part”. My mind starts to think of all the ways I can roll up the fresh spring roll without a rice wrap. I’m thinking lettuce wrap may be possible and then it hits me, why not make it a salad? And ta-dah that’s how we ended up with the “inside out shrimp fresh roll”.
You know by now that I like to make things just as easy as I do yummy and I don’t like turning my stove top on in this heat. This one is no different, it is an easy and cool way to get a main dish to the table. All the ingredients should be available at your grocery store, I found everything I needed at my Rosauers. In addition to what I’ve listed, you can totally add more veggies and spices to your liking and omit what you don’t like or substitute something else. For example, if you don’t like shrimp you can use left over chilled, sliced pork roast in its place. When I first made this, I put together my own homemade peanut sauce and then I found a jar at the store and it tasted just as good, so I haven’t made it from scratch since. If you make any changes that you like, I’d love to hear what you did!
Inside Out Shrimp Fresh Roll
1 8oz box Annie Chun’s MaiFun rice noodles (you will only use half the box)
1 large head of leafy green lettuce washed and chopped into bite sized squares (romaine and red leaf lettuce work too, if you’re using hearts of romaine, you’ll need 3)
1 medium carrot shredded (or 1/2 cup of bagged shredded carrots)
1 C shredded red cabbage (or 1 cup bagged coleslaw cabbage, no dressing)
1 handful bean sprouts (can be omitted, good for crunch)
1 pound cooked shrimp, chilled (I use half of the frozen 2 pound bag cooked and shelled large shrimp then remove the tails myself when thawed, it’s less expensive)
1 jar Sun Luck Thai Peanut Sauce
Follow the directions on the box of your rice noodles and cook half the noodles or if you like leftover noodles, cook them all. I’m here to tell you, you can do this on your grill’s bean burner with a couple inches of water, 3 minutes boiling time. When you remove your noodle pot from the heat, strain your noodles in a small strainer (little holes), then spray the cooked noodles with cool water to chill them. Place noodles in a small bowl and put a tiny amount of oil on your cooked rice noodles to prevent sticking. I took a little sesame oil in the palms of my hands and just ran my fingers through the noodles to lightly coat. Then set aside.
In a large bowl, add your washed and chopped lettuce, bean sprouts, your shredded carrots and cabbage, and give it a good toss. Now, I do not add the noodles, shrimp or dressing with my greens because if I end up with leftovers they will get really gross, really fast. So, keeping things separate helps and it’s quick to plate. This also gives picky eaters an option of what they want to top their veggies with.
To plate it up, pile a dinner plate with your veggies, top with the cooked noodles, followed by your cooked yet chilled shrimp, and then drizzle with the Thai peanut sauce, top with a few extra spouts and chopped peanuts for crunch or some pepper flakes for heat. Enjoy!
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