Guess who’s mouth wants to eat nothing but salmon this week?
This girl’s. But first, a story.
Back when I started my new (or not so new any more) job in April, I was at the beach with a couple of my co-workers and we were discussing our favourite food treats. Their answers included some of the things you’d expect to hear like chocolate, nut butter and wine. Having grown up in a home with my mum who is allergic to both nuts and caffeine, these things just weren’t found in our house very frequently. As a result, it seems the adult me is missing that strong affinity for chocolate, coffee and nut butters that many others seem to have built up by now.
When asked by my boss what my favourite treats were, two stuck out in my mind. The first: Chimes Ginger Chews, specifically the Peanut Butter and Original Ginger flavours. Seriously, if you haven’t tried these yet, you need to get yourself to Whole Foods and buy a bag (or 6) because these bad boys are the bomb diggity.
On the savoury side (and I’ve raved plenty about these before), maple smoked salmon nuggets from Granville Island here in Vancouver are a very, very fast way to my heart. They’re salty, smoky and sort of flaky on the inside, with a very thin shell-like maple coating on the outside. These little nuggets of joy are about as Canadian as it gets, and if you are ever visiting, I highly recommend hunting some down.
I’d forgotten about our treats conversation up until a week ago. Things have been hectic at work – like really hectic – so the weeks of May and June sort of blurred together with everyone’s heads down focusing on big projects. The one that my boss and I have been investing the majority of our time in launched last week.
After a team meeting that finished with all of us talking about how grateful we are for each other (because that’s just what we do, and it’s awesome), I walked back to my desk to find a container with a big pink bow on top. Upon a few seconds of further inspection, I realized exactly what it was.
Guys. She is the best. How often do you find someone who will go out of their way after work to drive to a place full of tourists, pay for exceptionally over-priced parking, and buy you a tub of cold maple-covered fish??? Not often, that’s how often. This is #joblove to the max.
I haven’t started experimenting with my own smoked salmon nuggets yet, mainly because 1) I don’t own a smoker, and 2) cooking anything with a smoker or smoker-like contraption (yes, I’ve Googled alternatives) in my condo would probably result in me burning the entire building down. But what I DO have for you still incredibly delicious.
These Smoked Salmon and Avocado Summer Rolls are an ideal meal for hot summer days when heating up your house is the last thing you want to do. They’re also perfect when you, on a whim, buy a ginormous bag of avocados from Costco and they all ripen at exactly the same time.
As is always the case with rice paper wraps, the trick seems to be not over-stuffing them or poking any holes in the wrap with your fillings. I’ve found that the best way to do this is to made sure everything is cut really thinly, including vegetables like carrots and cucumbers which could pierce the wrap. I used my mandolin for my veggie slicing, but if you don’t have one, making long ribbons with a regular carrot peeler would also do the job.
We all know that often summer rolls are a bundle of veggies that are really just a vehicle for an amazing dipping sauce, but in this case, I promise the contents of the rolls are just as tasty as the miso tahini sauce next to them. Tucked into these guys is fresh mint and basil leaves, creamy avocado, sweet peppers and crunchy sunflower sprouts. All together, they’re pretty much magic in your mouth.
Smoked Salmon and Avocado Summer Rolls
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins
Ingredients (8 rolls)
- 8 rice wraps (about 9″ diameter)
- 16 thin slices of cold smoked salmon
- 1 English cucumber, very thinly sliced
- 1 avocado, pitted and peeled, thinly sliced
- 3-4 cups baby greens
- 1/2 cup minced red bell pepper (feel free to throw in a few hot peppers if you like)
- 1/2 loosely-packed cup fresh mint
- 1/2 loosely-packed cup fresh basil
For the sauce:
- 1/4 cup natural almond butter
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp each white miso, low sodium tamari and freshly grated or minced ginger
- 3 tbsp water (+ more to thin as needed)
Fill a large bowl with warm water and place it on a countertop next to a clean dinner plate. Make sure the rest of your roll fillings are prepared and nearby.
Gently soak one of the rice wraps in the bowl of warm water for about 30s or until it softens. Shake it a little bit to get the extra water off, then lay it flat on the dinner plate.
Starting at the end nearest you, arrange a little bit of each of the fillings in a small pile. (The order is entirely up to you – I started with the salmon and avocado, then piled the herbs, cucumber, minced peppers, sprouts and greens on top.)
Carefully fold the left and right sides of the wrap towards the midline of the wrap. Holding them in place, peel the edge of the wrap closest to you off the plate and over the fillings, rolling away, the same way as you would if rolling up a burrito.
Repeat with the remaining rice wraps, preparing each one individually. (Soaking multiple at a time will result in a very sticky mess.) You may have some fillings leftover.
In a blender, whirl up the ingredients for the dipping sauce until completely smooth. Adjust the consistency by adding a little water if needed, then serve alongside the summer rolls.
Note: These can be made up to a day ahead of time if kept refrigerated. For best results, wrap each roll up in a damp paper towel and store them in a sealed container.
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So tell me…
- Is the city/town/province/state you live in known for any specific foods or popular dishes?
- What’s the kindest, most thoughtful and/or unexpected thing someone has ever surprised you with?