Chia-Crusted Summer Rolls, Shiitake Broth

summerroll6My girls and I are obsessed with the Food Network cooking show, Chopped. We downloaded a bunch of seasons (there are a whopping 20 and counting!) and watch an episode or two per week while curled up on the couch in our pjs. The girls love anticipating the judges’ responses and guessing who will be chopped after each round. I was thrilled to see the episode titled “Wheatgrass Roots” (Episode: CQ1510H) that features Rich Landau of Vedge, a highly regarded vegan restaurant in my home city of Philadelphia.

In this episode, Rich is one of four contestants presented with a basket of mystery ingredients in each of three rounds: appetizer, entree and dessert. While he was the only vegan chef competing, all of the ingredients were vegan except for honey in the final dessert round. You’ll have to watch the episode to see how he handles that one. This was so fun to watch and my 8-year-old daughter (who’s been vegan for 5 months now) loved seeing her favorite show feature vegan dishes that she could actually eat!

This recipe is inspired by Rich’s appetizer presentation. Contestants were given a mystery basket containing rice paper sheets, chia seeds, dandelion greens and dried morel mushrooms. He expertly crafted a summer roll bursting with fresh ingredients  bathed in a morel mushroom broth. His inventive choice to dip the roll in chia seeds, giving it a pop of color and crunch was applauded by the judges.

The day after watching the episode, I surprised my girls with these Chia Crusted Summer Rolls in a Shiitake Broth… my take on Rich Landau’s standout dish. The family loved it and needless to say, I was not “chopped” that evening. : )

Here’s what you’ll need to sneak these rolls onto your table before the summer’s out (makes 8 rolls):

  • 1/4 cup cucumber, julienned
  • 1/8 cup red onion, minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • small bunch of kale, chopped and blanched
  • 1/2 tsp mirin
  • 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 Vietnamese rice paper sheets
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 package dried shiitake
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • couple splashes of white wine (optional)
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

First, place your dried shiitake into a bowl of warm water to begin the rehydration process.

Next, make the filling for your rolls. Place the cucumber, onion, carrot and kale into a mixing bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the mirin, sesame seeds, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture over the vegetables and toss to coat.

Beautifully blanched kale

Beautifully blanched kale

These rolls feature a summery splash of color!

These rolls feature a summery splash of color!

Place warm water into a large, high-rimmed plate or in a baking sheet and place your first rice paper sheet inside. Make sure it’s completely submerged and allow it to sit until it’s completely softened.

While you wait, bring your water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the rehydrated shiitake and reduce to simmer, cooking until the mushrooms are nice and tender. Add in the oil, white wine, cayenne and salt and pepper to taste.

When your rice paper wrapper is ready, place some of the vegetable filling inside and wrap it up. Repeat this process until you have 8 finished rolls.

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All wrapped up

To plate, ladle a small amount of your mushroom broth into a serving plate or low bowl. Pour your chia seeds onto a flat plate and dip the top of the summer roll into the chia to give it a crust. Carefully lay the chia-crusted roll into the broth and serve.

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summerroll7Happy eating!

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