Smoked Salmon Summer Rolls
Reprinted with permission from Egg Rolls & Sweet Tea. Copyright © 2023 by Natalie Keng. Photos copyright © 2023 by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn. Excerpted by permission of Gibbs Smith.
Even though transplants and visitors to Atlanta complain constantly about the Southern humidity and heat, my favorite memories as a kid are still from summertime in Georgia—from climbing rocks in backyard creeks and swimming in Lake Allatoona to walking through the dancing fountains in Centennial Olympic Park and, yes, sipping sweet iced tea on the porch. After camping out in Seward, Alaska, with a dear friend and colleague, I learned firsthand about sustainable fisheries—and got a taste of wild Alaskan salmon. I was hooked.
This recipe was inspired by my love of salmon and the hot weather of a Southern summer that calls out for cool comfort food. The smoked salmon is chilled, with refreshingly cold basil, mint, cucumber, and green onion added to the roll along with the noodles.
Makes 6 rolls
- 4 ounces smoked Alaskan wild salmon, chopped
- 1⁄2 teaspoon minced basil
- 1⁄2 teaspoon minced mint
- 1 tablespoon chopped green onion
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 5 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon wasabi powder
- 1 teaspoon milk
- 1⁄2 English cucumber, peeled and seeded
- 4 ounces dried rice vermicelli noodles
- 6 round rice paper wrappers
In a medium bowl, mix the salmon, basil, mint, green onion, capers, mayonnaise, wasabi powder, and milk to combine. Using a peeler, create thin cucumber strips (about 4 inches long, or the width of your rolls) and set aside.
Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving the hot water to soak the wrappers. Rinse the noodles with cold water until the noodles are completely cool (to prevent sticking) and set aside.
To prepare the wrappers for the rolls, pour about 1 inch of the hot noodle water in a shallow pie pan or round cake pan. If the water is too hot to touch, add in a little cold water. Submerge 1 sheet of the rice paper in the water. Working quickly, let it soak for about 15 seconds, shake off the excess water, then carefully lay the wrapper flat on a large clean plate or a cutting board. Let the wrapper rest for 1 minute before filling. It will feel soft, pliable, and sticky.
Place a few cucumber strips on the bottom third of the wrapper and then put about 1⁄4 cup of noodles (a small handful) on top. Spread 1 tablespoon of the smoked salmon mixture across the top of the noodles. Fold the lower wrapper edge over the filling, close the side flaps evenly toward the middle, and roll it up until the filling is encased tightly. The wrapper is very sticky and will seal by itself on contact, so fold and roll straight—there’s no rolling back! Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.
Natalie Keng is a pioneer in the area of innovative leadership development and is the Founder and CEO (“Chief Eating Officer”) of Global Hearth, a multi-faceted business that leverages the power of food and culture to promote team-building and employee engagement in support of corporate initiatives through its Cooking Up a Better World™ platform of inspiring, interactive, and impactful presentations, tours and events. Keng is the creator of an award-winning line of Georgia-grown, Asian-inspired sauces (launched at Whole Foods Market) that feature natural ingredients and harken heritage recipes, earning her the title The Sauce Maven™. Before starting her own business, Keng was a strategic marketing executive in a Fortune 100 corporation. She has also headed leadership development initiatives at national non-profit organizations and served in public office. Keng is a recipient of the Greater Women’s Business Council’s Trailblazer Award and was appointed to serve on the Governor’s Health Task Force. A graduate of Vassar College, Keng holds a Master of Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She lives in her hometown of Smyrna, Georgia.