1 (2-ounce) package cellophane noodles or vermicelli
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
24 unpeeled medium shrimp (about 1 pound)
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
3 heads Boston or Bibb lettuce
12 rice wrappers (6 to 8 inches in diameter)
4 plum tomatoes, sliced into very thin wedges
4 scallions, finely sliced
1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves or cilantro
12 fresh basil leaves, cut in half lengthwise
6 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 teaspoons peeled and finely minced fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 scallions, finely sliced
1/2 cup vegetable stock or chicken stock
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 tablespoon sambal oelek or other Asian hot sauce
To prepare the sauce, combine the peanut butter, ginger, garlic, scallions, vegetable stock, fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, cilantro, and sambal oelek in a mixing bowl. Thin with additional broth if necessary. Transfer to a smaller serving bowl.
Prepare the grill.
Soak the cellophane noodles in lightly salted hot water for 20 to 30 minutes, until just tender. Drain and cut the noodles into pieces 2 or 3 inches long. (This can be easily done in the colander using kitchen shears.)
Season the steak with salt and pepper. Grill over direct medium-high heat for about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare, or 4 minutes per side for medium. Let cool, and then slice into at least 24 thin slices.
Meanwhile, place the shrimp in a steamer basket or colander set over a large saucepan of boiling water, cover tightly, and steam for 2 or 3 minutes, or until just cooked through. Drain, peel, devein, and slice in half lengthwise. Blanch the bean sprouts in a saucepan of boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain and let cool.
Cover a large platter with lettuce leaves. Tear the remaining leaves into small pieces to use in the rolls. Place the dipping sauce in the center of the platter. To assemble the spring rolls, fill a medium bowl (large enough to hold a rice wrapper) with warm water and lay a kitchen towel in front of it. Dip 1 rice wrapper in the bowl for 20 to 30 seconds and lay it on the kitchen towel. Leaving about 1 inch at each end of the wrapper empty, place the following ingredients in a strip down the middle: 4 shrimp halves, 2 strips of beef, about 2 tablespoons of the cellophane noodles, 4 or 5 bean sprouts, 2 or 3 slices of tomato, some scallions, a few pieces of lettuce, a few mint leaves, and 2 halves of basil leaf. Fold in the top and bottom of the wrapper and roll up the spring roll. Place on the platter of lettuce leaves and repeat the process for the remaining rolls, arranging them around the dipping sauce.
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