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Cucumber and Avocado Summer Rolls with Mustard-Soy Sauce

Rich, nutty avocado is a great carrier of flavors, like the fresh herbs and cooling cucumber that star in these fresh rice-paper rolls. The savory dipping sauce features tart, sweet and salty ingredients that mimic an exotic salad dressing—fitting, as these rolls are like a salad that is eaten out of hand.

Ingredients:

  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • 2 Tbs. rice bran or canola oil
  • 1 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Haas avocados
  • 20 rice paper rounds, 6 or 8 inches in diameter
  • 10 green lettuce leaves
  • Leaves from 1 bunch fresh basil
  • Leaves from 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 2 carrots, coarsely shredded
  • 1/2 English cucumber, cut into thin strips

Directions:

In a small bowl, stir together the lime juice, oil, vinegar, mustard, soy sauce and brown sugar until the sugar dissolves; set aside.

Halve, pit and peel the avocados, and then cut them into 1/2-inch dice.

Place a wide, shallow bowl of warm water on a work surface. Lay a clean kitchen towel next to the bowl. Dip 1 rice paper round into the water for a few seconds to soften, then lay it flat on the towel. Dip a second round into the water and lay it directly on top of the first one. Using another towel, pat the top of the rice paper dry.

Center a lettuce leaf on top of the stacked rice papers. Starting about one-third in from the edge closest to you, arrange a few of the basil and mint leaves in a line across the lettuce. Top with a small row each of the carrot, cucumber and avocado; be careful not to overstuff the roll. Lift the bottom edge of the rice paper up and over the filling and then roll once to form a tight cylinder. Fold in the sides of the rice paper and continue to roll the paper and filling into a tight cylinder. Set aside, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining rice paper and filling ingredients to make 10 rolls.

Cut each roll in half crosswise and arrange, cut side up, on a platter. Place the sauce alongside for dipping and serve immediately. Makes 20 rolls; serves 8 to 10.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Appetizers, by Amy Sherman (Oxmoor House, 2008).