A refreshing salad rolled up in rice paper is one of Vietnam's culinary treasures.
Bring 1 inch water to a boil in a large, deep straight-sided skillet. Submerge shrimp; immediately remove from heat and cover. Let stand 3 minutes; drain. Let cool and peel. Cut in half lengthwise and devein. Shrimp can be stored in refrigerator up to 1 day.
Place vermicelli in a baking dish and cover with 1 inch hot tap water. Let stand until water is tepid, about 30 minutes; drain. Vermicelli can be stored in refrigerator up to 1 day.
Submerge cabbage and carrots in 2 separate bowls of ice water 30 minutes; drain. Place alongside cucumber, scallions, basil, shrimp, and noodles on a platter.
Pour at least 1 inch warm water into a bowl slightly larger than spring-roll skins. Submerge 1 skin in warm water until pliable but still firm, about 10 seconds. (Replace warm water as necessary.) Transfer to a plate. Serve with dipping sauce and sambal oelek.
Summer rolls pique all five senses: sight, scent, taste, sound (crunch), and touch: Put out a platter of shrimp, vegetables, and herbs, and let guests make their own.
1. START STACKING
Place 3 pieces of shrimp, cut side up, on prepped spring-roll skin. Place fresh herbs, vegetables, and vermicelli on top of shrimp.
2. GET ROLLING
Using both hands, lift side of skin closest to you and fold it tightly over filling, leaving a crescent moon of skin on far side (think burrito).
3. TUCK TIGHTLY
Fold in both ends of summer roll. Once thereâ€™s skin-to-skin contact, a tight seal will form.
4. WRAP IT UP
Grab body firmly and tightly roll it away from you to seal summer roll. Dip, eat, enjoy. Repeat.