I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon cooking with a friend last week who happens to be a chef and a fellow lover of food. We have been meaning to cook together for some time and finally got things together to make it happen. The afternoon was a reminder that it really is more fun to cook in the company of others. Cooking with friends always results in great conversation, new recipe ideas and leads to sharing food around the table. What could be more perfect than that.
Deciding what to cook can sometimes be the hardest part. As we are nearing Spring, I am starting to crave fresher food, including greens, greens and more greens. Sadly, the fresh local greens are still a ways away so for this recipe we turned to some of our winter favourites and gave them a fresher twist in the form of a salad roll.
Based on what is in season and what I had in the fridge, Michelle came up with the filling combination which not only looks beautiful but tastes fantastic. The flavour profile is nicely balanced with the sweetness of the yams, bite of the pickled ginger and freshness of the kale and cilantro. These salad rolls are certainly more interesting and tasty than most and inspired me to be more creative with filling possibilities. Michelle described some she made recently with beets, fresh dill and watercress, wow!
We also pickled our own ginger, which was really simple and tasty. I have included a recipe bellow for fun but feel free to use store bought as the ginger needs to be made several days in advance. Pickling ginger is certainly worth a try though and it is a nice item to have on hand in the fridge for sushi, salad rolls or to ward off any flu bugs that might come your way.
I have included a fairly lengthly recipe for those that like one but I have intended this post to be more inspiration that anything, a springboard for your creativity in the salad roll making department.
Michelle and I decided that making salad rolls would make for a fun party. Cooking together is always a great way to bring people together and makes hosting more relaxed and fun.
When ready to serve, slice each roll on the diagonal and serve with the dipping sauce.
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- ¼ cup organic sugar
- Fresh ginger, about 5 ounces
- 1 packages rice noodles (vermicelli)
- 12 sheets round rice paper wrappers
- 1 large bunch kale
- 2 large yams
- 2 cups of shitake mushrooms, sliced or whole if you have baby ones
- ½ bunch cilantro
- ¼ cup pickled ginger
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp miso (I used red miso)
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp mirin
- ½ lime, juiced
- Grated ginger and garlic to taste
- ¼ tsp toasted sesame oil, optional
- In a small sauce pan combine the rice vinegar and sugar. Heat to a simmer and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the vinegar/sugar mixture over the ginger and let cool. Place the lid on the jar and refrigerate for one week to let the ginger pickle and the flavours meld.
- Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Slice the yams into small batons. Toss with olive to coat and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes or until soft and getting golden in colour.
- Remove the tough stem from the kale. Break the leaves into large pieces. In a skillet with a lid, steam the kale leaves with a pinch of salt and a splash or water until tender, about 5 minutes. Alternately you could blanch the kale in salted boiling water for a couple of minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Heat a small skillet, add a thin coating of vegetable oil, I used untoasted sesame oil. Saute the minced garlic until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes, when almost cooked, add the tamari or soy sauce. Set aside to cool.
- In a small pot of boiling water cook the vermecelli rice noodles for 2-3 minutes until softened. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Have all your filling ingredients close by. In a large shallow bowl soak 1 round of rice paper for about 10 to 20 seconds until softened. Remove, lay flat on a cutting board. Place desired amount of kale, noodles, yam, shitake, cilantro and picked ginger about ⅓ of the way in on the wrapper. Beginning at the bottom edge of the wrapper tightly wrap the ingredients, tucking in the sides as you go. (like a burrito)
- Repeat with remaining ingredients.
- When ready to serve, slice each roll on the diagonal and serve with the dipping sauce.
- Slice the ginger in very thin slices, a mandolin works well here. Place the ginger in a clean jar.