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Spicy Red Curry Beef Summer Rolls

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Summer rolls are a light and fresh alternative to the tried spring roll. They’re made with rice paper rounds, which are found in Asian markets. When you take them out of the package, these rounds feel like disks of hard plastic, but after being soaked briefly in warm water, they become pliable and are easy to roll up around a filling. The result is a soft, slightly transparent roll filled with tender noodles, crisp vegetables, and, in this case, flavorful grilled flank steak. The contrast in flavors and textures makes for an exciting kickoff to any Asian meal.

NotesMake-ahead: The summer rolls can be made 4 hours ahead and chilled, covered with lightly dampened paper towels and then with plastic wrap. Let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

CostModerate

Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

OccasionBuffet, Cocktail Party

Recipe Courseappetizer, hors d'oeuvre

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free

Mealdinner

Taste and Textureherby, hot & spicy, light, meaty, umami

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 6 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 to 1¼ pounds skirt steak or flank steak
  • 3 ounces rice-stick vermicelli noodles
  • Ten 8-inch rice-paper rounds, plus additional in case some tear
  • 60 fresh cilantro leaves (from about 1 bunch)
  • 60 fresh mint leaves (from about 1 bunch)
  • 1 medium seedless cucumber, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/8-inch matchsticks
  • 3 green onions, cut into 3-inch julienne strips
  • Spicy Thai Dipping Sauce, for serving

Instructions

  1. To make the marinade: In a medium bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and vegetable oil. Remove ¼ cup of this mixture and set aside. Add the red curry paste and continue to whisk until smooth.

  2. In a large, resealable plastic bag, combine the marinade and steak and seal the bag, pressing out the excess air. Marinate in the refrigerator, turning once or twice, for at least 4 hours or overnight.

  3. When you are ready to make the rolls, in a large bowl soak the rice-stick vermicelli in hot water to cover until softened and pliable, about 15 minutes.

  4. Prepare a grill or preheat the broiler.

  5. Discard the marinade and grill the steak on an oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals, about 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare. (Alternatively, broil the steak on the rack of a broiler pan about 3 inches from the heat for about the same amount of time.) Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.

  6. Drain the noodles in a colander, then rinse under cold running water and drain well again. Place the noodles in a medium bowl, add the ¼ cup reserved marinade, and toss to coat.

  7. Thinly slice the steak on the diagonal.

  8. Put a double thickness of paper towel on a work surface, and fill a shallow baking pan with warm water. Check the rice-paper rounds and use only those that have no holes. Soak 1 round in warm water until pliable, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Carefully transfer to the paper towels.

  9. Arrange 3 cilantro leaves and 3 mint leaves across the bottom third (the part nearest you) of the soaked rice paper. Top with 1 slice of steak. Spread ¼ cup noodles on top of the steak and arrange 8 cucumber matchsticks and 6 green onion strips on top of the noodles. Fold the bottom of the rice paper over the filling and begin rolling it up tightly, stopping at the halfway point. Arrange 3 more mint leaves and 3 more cilantro leaves along the crease, then fold in the ends and continue rolling. Transfer the summer roll, seam side down, to a plate and cover with dampened paper towels. Make 9 more rolls in the same manner and serve, whole or halved diagonally, with the dipping sauce.

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