Even though transplants and visitors to Atlanta complain constantly about the Southern humidity and heat, my favorite memories as a kid are still from summertime in Georgia—from climbing rocks in backyard creeks and swimming in Lake Allatoona to walking through the dancing fountains in Centennial Olympic Park and, yes, sipping sweet iced tea on the porch. After camping out in Seward, Alaska, with a dear friend and colleague, I learned firsthand about sustainable fisheries—and got a taste of wild Alaskan salmon. I was hooked.
This recipe was inspired by my love of salmon and the hot weather of a Southern summer that calls out for cool comfort food. The smoked salmon is chilled, with refreshingly cold basil, mint, cucumber, and green onion added to the roll along with the noodles.
Makes 6 rolls
4 ounces smoked Alaskan wild salmon, chopped
1⁄2 teaspoon minced basil
1⁄2 teaspoon minced mint
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
1 tablespoon capers
5 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon wasabi powder
1 teaspoon milk
1⁄2 English cucumber, peeled and seeded
4 ounces dried rice vermicelli noodles
6 round rice paper wrappers
In a medium bowl, mix the salmon, basil, mint, green onion, capers, mayonnaise, wasabi powder, and milk to combine. Using a peeler, create thin cucumber strips (about 4 inches long, or the width of your rolls) and set aside.
Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving the hot water to soak the wrappers. Rinse the noodles with cold water until the noodles are completely cool (to prevent sticking) and set aside.
To prepare the wrappers for the rolls, pour about 1 inch of the hot noodle water in a shallow pie pan or round cake pan. If the water is too hot to touch, add in a little cold water. Submerge 1 sheet of the rice paper in the water. Working quickly, let it soak for about 15 seconds, shake off the excess water, then carefully lay the wrapper flat on a large clean plate or a cutting board. Let the wrapper rest for 1 minute before filling. It will feel soft, pliable, and sticky.
Place a few cucumber strips on the bottom third of the wrapper and then put about 1⁄4 cup of noodles (a small handful) on top. Spread 1 tablespoon of the smoked salmon mixture across the top of the noodles. Fold the lower wrapper edge over the filling, close the side flaps evenly toward the middle, and roll it up until the filling is encased tightly. The wrapper is very sticky and will seal by itself on contact, so fold and roll straight—there’s no rolling back! Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.
Reprinted with permission from Egg Rolls & Sweet Tea: Asian Inspired, Southern Style. Copyright © 2023 by Natalie Keng. Photographs copyright © 2023 by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn. Published by Gibbs Smith.
When you shop using our links, we earn a small commission. It’s a great way to support public media at no extra cost to you
Each week, The Splendid Table brings you stories that expand your world view, inspire you to try something new and show how food brings us together. We rely on you to do this. And, when you donate, you'll become a member of The Splendid Table Co-op. It's a community of like-minded individuals who love good food, good conversation and kitchen companionship. Splendid Table Co-op members will get exclusive content each month and have special opportunities for connecting with The Splendid Table team.
Donate today for as little as $5.00 a month. Your gift only takes a few minutes and has a lasting impact on The Splendid Table and you'll be welcomed into The Splendid Table Co-op.