Recipe: Asparagus and Shiitake Summer Rolls
One of our favorite events every summer is The Sylvia Center’s Farm-to-Table dinner, hosted by Great Performances in the fields of Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, N.Y. The mission of The Sylvia Center is to inspire young people and their families to eat well through hands-on learning experiences on the farm and in the kitchen. Julie Cerny, farm education director and garden manager at The Sylvia Center, offers us recipes the teenagers are learning to make.
The possibilities for summer roll fillings are endless, but this is one of our favorites. Sweet, spicy and salty flavors combine to create an addictive appetizer that also is fun to make. Working with the rice paper rounds takes some finesse at first, but stick with it, and you’ll have a very delicious and very attractive dish to share. We encourage experimenting with different vegetable combinations, too. Let what’s ready in your garden be your guide!
Asparagus and Shiitake Summer Rolls
Yields 10 rolls
3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 small garlic clove, minced
3/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon sugar
4 ounces bean thread or rice noodles (cellophane noodles)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 pound shiitakes, remove stems and slice remaining portion
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 large sweet potato, steamed and cut into batons
1 pound asparagus, trimmed, steamed and halved lengthwise
(12) 8-inch rice-paper rounds, plus additional in case some tear
1. Cook onion, garlic and red pepper flakes in oil in a small heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until pale golden, about 4 minutes. Whisk in remaining sauce ingredients. Simmer, whisking, for 1 minute, and then cool.
2. Cover noodles with boiling-hot water and soak 15 minutes, then drain well in a sieve. Pat dry between paper towels and toss with vinegar and salt to taste.
3. Heat vegetable oil in sauté pan. Add shiitakes and soy sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to bowl.
4. Put a double thickness of paper towel on a work surface and fill a shallow baking pan with warm water. Soak 1 rice-paper round (make sure there are no holes) in warm water until pliable, 30 seconds to 1 minute, then transfer to paper towels.
5. Top rice paper round with even parts noodles, sweet potato, asparagus and shiitakes. Then fold in sides and continue rolling. Transfer summer roll to a plate and cover with dampened paper towels.
6. Continue until all of the rice wrappers have been used. Serve rolls halved on the diagonal.