Backstrap Spring Rolls

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This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a serving suggestion. Spring rolls are synonymous with Vietnamese cuisine, but a version can be found in most Asian countries, each putting their own spin on this (usually) healthy appetizer. Rice wrappers are filled with fresh vegetables, seafood or pork, and are deep fried, or in this case, eaten fresh. Local ingredients always dictate fillings, and mine are no exception. The smokiness of the grilled venison contrasts nicely with the fresh vegetables.

Rice wrappers aren’t too difficult to find. Most large grocery chains stock them, and any Asian market will have a few varieties. For some reason, instructions for use are seldom listed on the packaging and the internet is full of awful rice wrapper-handling advice. The rolling technique is not unlike rolling a cigar—too loose and it will fall apart, too tight and the wrapper will rip.

Roll your rolls on a nonporous surface because rice wrappers are delicate and have a tendency to stick. Its not a bad idea to lightly grease your workspace with a touch of canola oil.

I like to eat them with a sweet chili sauce. The recipe I use can be found at shesimmers, the best Thai cooking resource on the world wide web.

Backstrap Spring Rolls

  • Several leaves of green leaf lettuce, cut into long strips
  • half of a sweet pepper, julienned
  • a medium cucumber peeled and julienned, firm, white outer part only
  • one avacado, sliced thin
  • one grilled backstrap (preferably from a young deer)
  • rice spring roll wrappers
  1. Prep the veggies beforehand and refrigerate. Grill the backstrap to medium rare and allow it to cool to room temperature. Slice thinly.
  2. Fill a large bowl with lukewarm water and form an assembly line with your fillings. Lightly oil your rolling surface with a dot or two of neutral tasting oil.
  3. Dip a wrapper in the bowl of water so it is completely submerged and quickly pull it out. It will still be stiff to the touch but will soften over the next 30 seconds. Lay the wrapper on the oiled surface and place a few strips of lettuce along the bottom, followed by the sweet pepper, cucumber, avacado and finally the backstrap. The fillings should lie tightly next to one another, do not stack them.
  4. Lift the bottom edge of the wrapper over the fillings and tuck the end just underneath the backstrap. Fold the sides to the width of the fillings and gently but firmly roll the wrapper into a cigar shape.
  5. Repeat until you run out of fillings. Slice the rolls into inch wide pieces with a sharp, thin knife.
  6. Serve with sweet chili sauce and those chop sticks you have in your silverware drawer for some reason. Makes 5-7 rolls, feeds 2-3.

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