After the heavy comfort foods of winter, I find myself craving something crisp and fresh and full of vegetables. These delicious spring rolls, lightly broiled (not fried) and wrapped in crunchy, green lettuce fit the bill perfectly. This recipe uses bell pepper and apple rather than springy vegetables, and is more suited to late summer for people in more northern climates, here in Georgia so close to Florida it's possible to find delicious peppers in the spring. The translucent rice paper wrappers inspired my husband to dub these "ghost rolls", and whether you make them this weekend, or file it away until you can prepare it with local in-season ingredients, these ghost rolls are sure to become a family favorite. They can be made several hours ahead and kept chilled in the refrigerator, covered with a damp cloth. Serve with a clear soup and coconut rice to make a meal, or hand them around as an appetizer.
Crisp Orange-Chicken Spring Rolls
from Body + Soul magazine
1 small fresh red chili pepper, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon cooking wine
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 pound skinless chicken breast, sliced into thin strips
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large apple, cored and cut into thin strips
4 green onions, green part only, cut into short, thin slivers
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
12 8-inch round dried rice-paper wrappers*
1 head Boston or Bibb lettuce, washed
1. Combine chili pepper, garlic, ginger, wine, orange juice and soy sauce in a medium bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat. Cover and marinate for 15 minutes. Drain excess liquid.
2. In a small pan, heat canola oil and saute chicken until light brown outside and no longer pink inside, about 2 minutes. Combine apple, green onions, bell pepper, rice vinegar and sesame oil in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Mix in cooked chicken.
3. Fill a medium bowl with warm water. Dip one of the wrappers in the water for 15 seconds, or until softened. Carefully transfer it to a dry work surface.
dipping the wrapper in water
4. (a)Arrange 2-3 tablespoons of the filling in an even horizontal mound near one end of the wrapper. (b)Fold the end of the wrapper over the filling, then (c)fold in the sides. (d)Continue to roll up the rice paper to form a tight cylinder. Assemble the remaining spring rolls the same way.
5. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking oil. Arrange spring rolls in a single layer, leaving a little space between them. If you're making these ahead, now is the time to cover them with a damp cloth and place them in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook them.
6. Brush the rolls with oil. Broil the rolls until lightly browned and crisp, 8-10 minutes; check frequently to avoid burning. Use a spatula to turn the rolls over and continue to broil another 8-10 minutes. Serve each wrapped in a lettuce leaf with a dipping sauce.
Soy-Garlic-Lime Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons garlic chili paste
Juice of 1/2 lime
Whisk all ingredients together.
*Rice paper wrappers look like this:
online here (I've never bought from them, so I have no idea what the company's like -- I just did a quick Google search).