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posted: 8/20/2014 8:01 AM

Shrimp-Watercress Summer Rolls

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  • At this time of year, summer rolls are a great way to use powerhouse foods like watercress without falling into a salad slump.

      At this time of year, summer rolls are a great way to use powerhouse foods like watercress without falling into a salad slump.
    The Washington Post



2 cloves garlic

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1½ teaspoons finely grated lime zest, plus ¼ cup fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)

2 tablespoons tahini (may substitute unsalted creamy peanut butter)

2 teaspoons light agave nectar or honey

1 tablespoon canola oil

⅛ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon ground ginger, or more to taste

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

⅛ teaspoon ground white pepper

1 tablespoon water (optional)

1½ teaspoons white sesame seeds, for garnish


1 small yellow peach, pitted and cut into 9 slices

Flesh of ½ avocado, cut into 9 thin slices

½ red bell pepper, cut into 9 thin strips (julienne)

18 rice paper wrappers or brown rice paper wrappers (see headnote)

36 small cooked, peeled, deveined and chilled shrimp

2 cups watercress (leaves and tender stems)

4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced

18 fresh mint leaves

Fresh cilantro, for garnish

For the sauce: Use the flat side of a chef's knife to crush the garlic cloves, then mince and smash them to a paste. Transfer to a jar with a tightfitting lid. Add the lime zest and juice, tahini, agave nectar or honey, canola oil, toasted sesame oil, crushed red pepper flakes, ginger, salt and white pepper. Seal; shake vigorously to create an emulsified dressing. If it seems too thick (not easily pourable), add the water; seal and shake. Transfer to a small bowl for dipping; garnish with white sesame seeds, if using. The yield is a generous ½ cup.

For the rolls: Cut each of the peach, avocado and red bell pepper pieces in half, so there are 18 pieces of each.

Working with 1 wrapper at a time, dip them ever so briefly in a large bowl of hot water, then lay them flat. Arrange/stack 2 shrimp, a good pinch of watercress, 1 peach slice, 1 avocado slice, 1 red bell pepper slice, a pinch of scallions and 1 mint leaf (torn into smaller pieces) at the center of each wrapper. Fold 2 opposite wrapper sides inward, overlapping them, then fold the bottom up and roll upward to form a tight cylinder.

Arrange the summer rolls on a platter or individual plates; garnish with cilantro and serve with the dipping sauce.

Serves six.

Cook's note: Summer rolls can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days. Refrigerate the dipping sauce in a separate airtight container for up to 5 days. Rice paper spring roll wrappers can be found in the international aisle of most grocery stores. They are typically 6 inches in diameter. Brown rice paper spring roll wrappers can be found at Whole Foods. They are typically 8 inches in diameter and can accommodate more ingredients, if desired.

Nutrition values per serving (using half the sauce): 190 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated), 27 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 9 g protein, 30 mg cholesterol, 135 mg sodium.

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