Crawfish Spring Rolls with Three-Chili Dipping Sauce
This is Chef Mike Fennelly’s answer to the ever-popular egg roll. His recipe uses crawfish instead of pork or shrimp, and the hot Asian-inspired dipping sauce is a great flavor match. Do try the chef’s suggestion and wrap cooked spring rolls in a crisp lettuce leaf with pasta and mint. They’re unforgettable!
- Spring Rolls
- Red Bell Pepper - 1, Spring Rolls1 red bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
- Crawfish Tail Meat - 1 pound
- Carrot - 1 small, peeled and finely julienned
- Napa Cabbage - 1/2 cup, julienned
- Spinach leaves - 1/4 cup, julienned
- Garlic Cloves - 3, finely chopped
- Celery Stalk - 1, finely julienned
- Fresh Cilantro - 1 tablespoon, chopped
- Red Onion - 1/4 cup, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Rice paper wrappers - 1 package (1 pound)
- Egg Whites - 4, lightly beaten
- Three-Chili Dipping Sauce
- Garlic Cloves - 6
- Sugar - 1/4 cup
- Anaheim Chilies - 3
- Fresh Jalapeno Chilies - 2, seeded and deribbed
- Red Pepper Flakes - 1/4 teaspoon
- Juice of 2 limes
- Vietnamese Fish Sauce - 1/2 cup
- Water - 1 cup
- Distilled White Vinegar - 1 teaspoon
- Peanut oil for deep frying
- Carrot Strips - julienned, for garnish
- Linguine - 8 ounces, cooked, drained, and cooled (optional)
- Fresh mint - 1 bunch, stemmed (optional)
- Red Leaf or Butter Lettuce - 1 head (optional)
To make the spring rolls: In a large bowl, gently toss together the bell pepper, crawfish, carrot, cabbage, spinach, garlic, celery, cilantro, and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Place a rice paper round on a work surface. Brush the surface of the wrapper with egg white. Let stand a few seconds to soften. Place a heaping spoonful of filling about one fourth of the way in from the top edge of the wrapper. Spread the filling into a rectangular shape about 3/4 inch wide and 5 inches long. Fold over the top of the wrapper to cover the filling, then roll up one turn. Fold in the sides and finish rolling. Repeat until all the filling is used. Set aside.
To make the dipping sauce: Combine the garlic, sugar, chilies, red pepper flakes, and lime juice in a blender or food processor. Process until minced. Add the fish sauce, water, and vinegar and mix well. Set aside.
To cook the spring rolls: Pour the oil into a large, heavy saucepan or deep fryer to a depth of at least 4 inches. Heat the oil to 375 F. Drop the spring rolls into the oil a few at a time and fry until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Do not crowd the pan; fry in batches, letting the oil return to temperature between batches. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain briefly on paper towels. Cut each roll into 3 pieces with a sharp serrated knife.
To serve: Divide the sauce among individual bowls. Place spring rolls on the sauce. Garnish with carrot strips. The spring rolls may be eaten plain, or they may be wrapped inside a lettuce leaf with a small amount of pasta and a few mint leaves. In either case, dip them into the sauce.
Note: Rice paper rounds, usually measuring from 6 to 8 inches, are sold in 1-pound packages in shops carrying Southeast Asian foods. You will need only part of a package to make these rolls. Wrap the remaining rounds tightly and refrigerate.