Boneless pork chops are a staple in our CSA deliveries. Often they are small, not big enough to make a meat-and-two-veg type meal, but they’re also versatile, so we’re always on the lookout for new things we can do with them.
We’re also totally swamped with so many fresh vegetables from our veg CSA from our next-door neighbors at Four Elements Farm. Gorgeous produce is coming weekly, and stuff like tender small kohlrabi from several weeks ago is still in good shape in our fridge, too.
Friend Anne at Eating Small Potatoes saved the day when she suggested making spring rolls (also called salad rolls or summer rolls, which is appropriate). I did some searching online, and found that I pretty much could just grill some meat, chop up some veggies, and follow the package directions for the rice/tapioca paper and noodles.
So here is the process (not recipe) we followed. Use your own judgement based on what you have on hand, though I do highly recommend including the grilled boneless pork chops.
Marinate in lime juice and/or rice vinegar, a bit of olive oil, a bit of fish sauce, hoisin, and thinly sliced garlic. Acid and hoisin are the only ones that are required — the sugar in the hoisin helps the meat get some nice caramelization.
Grill until done, let rest, then slice thinly against the grain.
(Red Boat Fish Sauce [warning: autoplay video] is great and somehow magically way yummier than other fish sauces [which I already loved]. In Seattle you can get it at Uwajimaya and sometimes at DeLaurenti.)
What we had:
Cucumber: peel and julienne. Salt lightly and set to drain. Rinse and drain again before using.
Carrot (peeled or not), kohlrabi (definitely peeled), green beans (sliced if large): julienne and toss with a small amount of lime juice/rice vinegar and fish sauce.
Green onion: thinly slice on the bias to make lozenges.
Lettuce: Tear several leaves into bite-sized pieces.
Herbs: we had some rough pesto made of parsley, basil, mint, and garlic, so we used that instead of fresh whole herbs, but whatever you’ve got in the fridge or garden would work great.
The kohlrabi was great for crunch, but radish, jicama, or even something like fennel or celery would also be delicious here. The light marinade/pickle on the veggies was really nice.
We really like peanut butter so we did a sauce of half PB and half hoisin sauce, with a couple dashes each of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and fish sauce, thinned with water to the desired consistency.
We had some rice noodles on hand but decided not to use them because we already had so much yumminess.
We ended up with tapioca-based wrappers because the package said “spring roll skins” so we bought it, but whatever you get (rice, tapioca, whatever else) is surely fine. If your package directs you otherwise, you should do what it says, but here’s what we did:
Fill a round container (cake pan, large skillet) with hot tap water. Dredge the dried wrapper in it until it starts to act like a useable spring roll wrapper. At that point remove it and lay it out on your cutting board, trying to prevent it from folding over on itself.
Here is where other folks’ blogs are definitely better than ours at instructing you. White On Rice Couple’s spring rolls archive is particularly useful. Experiment with putting the filling in the middle or near one edge, or folding the sides in before folding the bottom up, and vice versa. For us, it worked best to put the meat down first, then the sticks of veg, then the leafy veg last before rolling. We also tried putting the hoisin/PB sauce inside instead of using it for dipping, and it was a bit less messy with the sauce inside.
If you try it, let us know what you think!