[video] Fresh Escarole and Avocado Spring Rolls
In this episode of Cooking Outside The Box, Cynthia Lair shows us how to make fresh escarole and avocado spring rolls.
- 1 head escarole (about 12 ounces)
- 1 medium ripe avocado
- 10 spring roll skins
- 1 medium lime
- ½ cup chopped, fresh basil, mint and/or cilantro leaves
- 4 ounces fried tofu, grilled shrimp or chicken
- Coconut Peanut Sauce (recipe follows)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Break apart and wash the escarole leaves, removing any tough parts of the core. Drop the leaves in the boiling water for 30-60 seconds. This will take out much of the bitterness inherent in escarole. Drain out the water into a colander and halt the cooking by running cold water over the cooked leaves. When cool enough to handle, pick them up and squeeze out into a ball, wringing out all of the excess water. Chop the blanched escarole into small pieces.
- Halve the avocado and remove pit. Score thin slices on one half and remove, repeat for the other half.
- Fill a large round pie plate or cake pan with warm water. Soak rice wrappers, one at a time, for about 15 seconds on each side, until soft but still firm to the touch. Remove the soft skin from the water and lay it flat on a hard surface, plastic or metal work best.
- Place a couple of avocado slices on the bottom 1/3 of the skin. Top that with about 2 tablespoons of the blanched escarole. Place a slice of the fried tofu or grilled chicken on top of the escarole. Sprinkle a tablespoon of the fresh herbs and a squeeze of lime over the mound.
- Working quickly, fold the edge closest to you over the filling and pull the filling in firmly. Fold the sides toward the center and then roll closed. Rolls will be should be about 4 inches long and 1 ½ inches wide. Repeat procedure until you have made 10 rolls. Place them in a dish, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Dip in Coconut Peanut Sauce. Yum.
Copyright 2012, C. Lair, Original recipe
Almond butter or cashew butter is also quite delicious in this recipe.
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons tamari or shoyu
- 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons grated gingerroot
- 1-2 teaspoons hot pepper sesame oil
- 1/3-1/2 cup coconut milk
- Place all ingredients for sauce together and whisk until smooth together in a small saucepan over medium to low heat. Stir gently until sauce begins to thicken. Add water if needed to get desired consistency. Serve drizzled over the noodles, greens, tofu, chicken – all good.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Feeding the Whole Family (third edition) by Cynthia Lair (Sasquatch Books, 2008)
So, I cut the tough end off and washed the leaves. I’m going to blanch this escarole, and that’ll take some of that sharp, bitter taste out of it. And then we’re going to put them in fresh spring rolls. Isn’t that awesome? And serve them with a little coconut-peanut sauce. And now I’m going to blanch it for 60 seconds, and that will get rid of the bitterness that’s naturally inherent in the leaves. I rinsed it in cold water until it quit cooking, and as soon as it’s comfortable to touch, which it is, I’m going to squeeze it. Now, I’m going to cut it. Actually, I can get quite a lot of it in a spring roll, because I squeezed it. Here’s my spring roll skin, which I’m going to put in a little bit of warm water. A cake pan works really well. And then what goes in my spring rolls are some avocado, a little of this blanched escarole, a protein source. I have some fried tofu or some grilled chicken. Grilled shrimp is pretty in there, too. A nice bunch of herbs, fresh lime, and we’ll roll it up.
So when you set it down, it’s kind of like Harry Potter’s invisible cloak. You can’t quite see it. But I’m going to put two little spooning avocado halves there, and they’ll show on the outside. And I’m going to put a little bit of this blanched escarole. Now, you don’t want to put too much in here, or it won’t roll right. And then I’m going to put some of that grilled chicken. And these are my herbs, I have basil, cilantro and mint. I think mint’s really important, and you need, at least, one of the other two. Thai basil is also really nice in there. That’s my little tower of beauty. And a squeeze of lime. Here it comes. And then you take the back end of it and fold it over this little bunch and pull back like that. Yes. Now you’re going to take in this side like this, and this side like this. And you roll this little puppy up. And there you go.
One of the wonderful things about spring rolls is you can put anything you want in it. Fresh lettuce is good in there, or any of the wonderful greens, collard greens, kale. But you’ll probably want to cook those a little bit before you put them in and any sort of protein. The thing that you really do want in there is the herbs and the lime for sure. Be sure and don’t put too much in there. That’s the most common error. And the other thing, when you cap this over here, when you’re putting this to bed like a little blanket, you want to pull back pretty hard right here, so it gets tight in there. That’ll keep it held together, and they won’t fall apart so much. Don’t be afraid to kind of manhandle them a little bit.
So, I’m pulling pretty hard when I roll it, and that way, it will stay together. That’s a good one. I like to serve these with coconut-peanut sauce that I made myself. I made it out of this awesome peanut butter. Oh my goodness. This is very, very tasty and all that’s in it is peanuts, so you’ve got to love that. But you can buy jarred peanut sauce if you want, but the homemade kind is pretty good. This peanut sauce has fresh ginger in it, and I kind of like that. This is a beautiful snack, just a handsome appetizer. It’s a great lunch for kids, because it’s a little pick up thing. And I like having the peanut sauce with it. Why? Because greens, all those fabulous nutrients that are in the dark, leafy greens that you want, they are more absorbable in the presence of fat. That’s why I’ve got some avocado in there and the peanut sauce to dip it in. It’s pretty cool.
And if you’ve got leftover blanched escarole, put it in the stir fry. You can add it to soups. You could put this in with your salad. More greens, low in calories, high in fiber, full of micro nutrients. Avocado escarole fresh spring rolls with coconut-peanut sauce.