Despised by many people, surimi crab sticks (or imitation crab sticks) are one of the rare processed products I regularly buy. They are the lightest snack I can imagine, have a long shelf – or rather fridge – life, they are easy and quick to use in salads, maki sushi and are quite enjoyable if paired with certain ingredients. There is also a question of brand because imitation crab can easily become awful. Among all the French brands I have tested, only one (Coraya) is edible. In short, I stick to one brand, I don’t expect too much from surimi sticks and they never disappoint me.
I often use surimi crab sticks in maki sushi and this was the first time I tested them in spring rolls. When a couple of days ago I saw A_Boleyn’s appetising Shrimp Summer Rolls, I thought I should write about my rolls which, apart from rice sheets, are completely different from hers. I left out glass noodles and even though I haven’t followed any recipe, I must have been influenced by the Japanese Nama Harumaki, raw spring rolls containing lettuce. The rolls were really good and refreshing, not as filling as the traditional ones (with glass noodles), but perfect as a light meal or snack or why not a breakfast on a hot summer day. Since they contain already mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco, they do not necessarily need any additional dipping sauce, but a simple mixture of low-sodium soy sauce, chili oil and vinegar is the best option for me.
TIP: Do not use bitter lettuce here (I used here my favourite “rougette” with slightly violet leaves, but the international iceberg would be perfect too)
Preparation: 15-20 minutes
Ingredients (10 rolls):
10 (22 cm or 8 3/4 in) rice paper sheets
10 small lettuce leaves (or 5 big leaves, halved);
10 surimi/imitation crab sticks
1/2 big cucumber
Cut both the avocado and the cucumber into thick strips.
Remove the thick and tough parts of lettuce leaves (they might tear the delicate rice sheets).
Fill a big wide bowl with warm (not hot) water.
Dip rice paper sheets one by one in the water, immersing them delicately so that you don’t break them.
As soon as the sheet softens ( after about ten – twenty seconds), put it onto a big chopping board.
Place first a lettuce leaf, horizontally (at the edge which is closest to you), then cucumber strips, avocado strips, some mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and a crab stick. You should aim at approximately 9cm/3,5 in long roll.
Roll tightly starting from the edge which is closest to you.
Proceed in the same way with the remaining rolls.
Serve them immediately as they are or cut in two horizontally.
If you wish to serve them later, wrap them individually in cling film because they dry out very quickly.