If fresh is what you’re going for, this delicately wrapped roll full of lobster, fresh avocado, and seasonal melon is as delightfully light and flavorful as it gets.
- 1 pound cooked lobster meat, diced
- 2 cups diced melon (such as honeydew, cantaloupe, or watermelon), in ¹⁄₄-inch dice
- 2 teaspoons minced pickled ginger
- Finely grated zest of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- ¹⁄₂ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¹⁄₄ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 12 (8-inch) round rice paper wrappers
- 24 large fresh basil leaves
- 2 ounces vermicelli rice noodles, rehydrated in hot salted water
- 2 ripe but firm Hass avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, and cut lengthwise into 24 slices
For the nuóc châm sauce
- ¹⁄₄ cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onion, white part only
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
- ¹⁄₄ cup fresh lime juice
- ¹⁄₄ cup fish sauce
- 1 small Serrano or Thai chile, thinly sliced
- Make the filling: Combine the lobster, melon, ginger, lime zest, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and stir to mix well.
- Assemble the rolls: Select a shallow bowl wide enough to accommodate a rice paper wrapper and fill the bowl with lukewarm water. Lay a damp kitchen towel on the work surface. Dip a rice paper round into the water just until it is relatively wet on both sides. Do not leave it in the water too long or it will collapse on itself and be impossible to handle. Remove the wrapper from the water, spread it flat on the kitchen towel, and leave it undisturbed for a bit until it softens fully and is pliable. Lay 2 basil leaves end to end in the center of the bottom one-third of the rice paper round. Layer a pinch of the rice noodles on top. Place a generous tablespoon of the lobster filling on top of the rice noodles, and top with 2 avocado slices, placing them end to end.
- Bring the edge of the wrapper closest to you up over the filling. Fold both sides of the rice paper toward the center, overlapping them by about 1 inch and covering the filling. Slowly start to roll away from you toward the top, keeping the roll snug as you work to form a tight cylinder. Transfer the roll to a tray or plate and repeat with the remaining ingredients. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours.
- Make the nuóc châm sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the warm water and brown sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Add the garlic, green onion, cilantro, lime juice, fish sauce, and chile and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to develop.
To serve: Cut each roll in half and arrange the halves on a serving plate with one half resting on its side and the other half standing up and resting against the horizontal half. Serve with the sauce for dipping.
Reprinted from Silver Oak Cookbook: Life in a Cabernet Kitchen – Seasonal Recipes from California’s Celebrated Winery by arrangement with Rizzoli, New York. Copyright © 2016, Dominic Orsini.
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