At The Local Grocer, we’re all about eating seasonally, so let’s welcome spring back with a dish that started in China as a seasonal snack. Traditionally eaten on the first day of spring, spring rolls were a thin pancake topped with lots of vegetables. Eventually, the springtime pancake evolved into a roll, making it easier to eat. Over the years, the taste has remained similar, but the preparation took on new elements and spices, and now, these vernal rolled pastries are known all over the world.
After such a long Michigan winter, wake up your taste buds with a meal of beautifully-wrapped rolls stuffed with the freshest ingredients from spring’s first harvests. Keep things seasonal by using farm-fresh produce like beets, green onions, spinach, cabbage and carrots that are all available this time of year. Spring rolls are often thought of as a popular street food because of their portability, but they also make a fabulous appetizer or main course. They can be served hot or cold, raw or fried, but having a winning dipping sauce on the side is nonnegotiable! The best thing about spring rolls is that they are totally customizable, and can be made to suit even the most complex eating habits.
Spring rolls can be sweet, savory, or both, and can be made as healthy or hearty as you like. Traditionally though, spring rolls are made with vegetables and lean proteins like thinly sliced pork and shrimp, assembled in a thin, translucent, rice flour wrap. The trick to rolling a perfect spring roll is moistening the rice paper just right, and rolling it tight like a burrito, before the paper dries out. The internet is a great place to find tutorials on how to wrap a spring roll, and The Local Grocer is a great source for all of your spring roll fixings!
Photography by Jenn Hawk