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Did you ever stop to taste a carrot? Not just eat it, but taste it? You can’t taste the beauty and energy of the earth in a Twinkie. — Astrid Alauda

Summer Rolls with Scallops, Corn and Garden Herbs

Summer rolls. I added some of the vegetables to the dip too.

These appetizers and have a fresh, bright flavor. I used local carrots, herbs and regional scallops. You can find the rice paper wrappers and dried maifun noodles in most gourmet or Asian markets, as well as some supermarkets and health food stores. Makes about 12. Easily doubled or tripled

The Rolls
1.5 ounces maifun noodles
1/4 pound scallops, muscles removed, sliced
1 ear of corn, shucked and kernels removed
1 carrot, grated
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts, optional
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped mint leaves
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
l/4 teaspoon hot chili pepper flakes
l/8 teaspoon salt or to taste
about 12 triangular rice paper wrappers

The Dipping Sauce
1  tablespoon lime juice
1-1/2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
A generous pinch of hot chili pepper flakes, or to taste

Optional Garnish
Sliced scallion greens
Toasted sesame seeds

l. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and corn. Cook for 2 minutes or until the noodles are soft but not mushy. Turn off the heat. Drop in the scallops  and let them sit in the hot water until almost cooked through, about 1-2 minutes. If you are unsure, you can pull one out and look. Uncooked scallops are a touch translucent.

2. Drain the pot in a colander and run cold water over the ingredients until they are cool. Firmly shake the colander to remove the excess liquid.

3. Add the noodle mixture to a bowl with the remaining summer roll ingredients, except for the rice paper. Toss.

4. Assemble. Place a dishtowel on a work surface. Fill a medium bowl with warm water and submerge 3-4 sheets of rice paper in the water, one at a time. When soft and pliable, about l minute, pull them out and pat dry. Arrange sheets on the towel with wide end towards you. Place about 1 rounded tablespoon of the drained filling in the center of each sheet. Fold in the sides and roll away from you. Set on a plate and complete the rest of the summer rolls with the remaining ingredients. Keeps wrapped well for l day covered in the refrigerator with a moist paper towel.

5. Combine dip sauce ingredients and serve with the summer rolls, sprinkled with scallions and sesame seeds, if you like.

Sustainable scallops in my summer rolls?

Sometimes being PC is exhausting, especially when I try to buy regional fish that is also sustainably raised and caught. Our oceans are a mess and issues of sustainability are complex. But the resources mentioned here, as well as the story of how I decided to buy these scallops should help you make sensible fish and seafood selections.

The easiest approach is to use FishPhone when you’re shopping. Check to see what’s regional. Then text 30644 to The Blue Ocean Institute’s sustainable seafood text messaging service with the message FISH and the name of the fish you are interested in buying. They’ll text back an assessment and better alternatives to fish that have significant environmental concerns.

I can’t get a cell phone connection at my home and like to make my decisions before I go shopping. So here is how I went about it: I wanted something regional and adore shrimp in summer rolls, but regional shrimp isn’t available here right now so I bought scallops, which have a similar enough taste and texture. Switching the kind of fish you buy is sometimes a good solution.

But I wanted to know if buying scallops was an environmentally acceptable way to go. So, I checked The Monteray Aquarium’s Seafood Watch. Their site told me that farmed scallops from China and Japan were the best choice now, but that wild regional scallops were a good alternative. Being a locavore, I bought the regional scallops, the closest sustainable selection. My reasoning?  Support local fisheries, local economies, and buy food that uses less fossil fuel. Go for the freshest fish. And finally, I prefer the flavor of wild caught fish!

Seafood choices can be complex and the Monteray Aquiriium also has a downloadable guide (just scan down on the page) that is extremely helpful.

 

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