Sunday, we had Venezuelan pernil arepas and South American slaw for dinner. The question is what do I do with the leftover pork, cabbage salad, and tomato slices for a weekday meal? If I was just by myself, I would go for mixing the meat and tomatoes into a savory rice dish—something that Jan would instantly describe as “too heavy!”
Throwing the pork onto a bun is too boring. Turning it into tamales is too time consuming. Searching the Internet for ideas I came across this recipe. The combination of pulled pork and salad wrapped in a rice paper wrapper is just the sort of thing I was looking for—something that would please Jan, but not be too much work.
Edible rice paper, is used to make Vietnamese summer rolls. It is sold as translucent brittle sheets in two sizes, 8 and 12 inch. Dipping each sheet briefly (video on technique) in warm water makes it pliable. The rice paper can then be used to bind together any ingredients you have on hand to put into the summer roll.
Note: I had made enough summer rolls that there were enough for some to have them as bag lunches. Jan and Eilene complained that the rice paper had gotten so tough by the second day that they had trouble chewing through it to get to the salad. The problem is how do your re-hydrate the rice paper to make it soft enough to eat. I have thought of two solutions. 1) If the summer roll wrapper is tight and water proof, put half an inch of warm water in a pan and briefly dunk the summer roll to moisten the rice paper. Let the roll sit briefly to soften before consuming. 2) If you are out and about, wet a paper towel and wrap the summer roll in the damp paper for a few minutes to re-hydrate.
Karl’s Leftovers: Venezuelan Pernil Summer Rolls (Pulled Pork)
6 large leaves green leaf lettuce, rinsed and dried
2 cups South American slaw
6 slices beefsteak tomato
½ avocado, cut into 6 wedges, pole to pole
2 cups Venezuelan Pernil (pulled pork)
6 sheets 12 inch rice paper
1. Lay out the fillings easy to hand.
2. Dip one sheet of rice paper in the water and lay it flat.
Tip: You want to put the wet rice paper on a very smooth surface or a terry cloth towel. Once the paper starts to dry it gets very sticky and hard to manage, you want it on a surface that it is not going to stick to forever—like a wooden cutting board or a smooth fine cloth towel.
3. Place the lettuce leaf on the edge closest too you.
Note: The lettuce prevents any poky bits from the salad from punching holes in the rice paper, as well as providing more salad to the dish.
4. Put some of the slaw evenly across the lettuce.
Tip: The technique here is the same as a sweet role or sushi, you try to spread the ingredients in an even bar across the wrapper.
Note: How much salad and meat you put on each roll depends on how much you have and how many rolls you are planning to make. Separate your ingredients, so that each roll get the same amount.
5. Lay a slice of tomato and avocado across the slaw.
6. Put some of the pernil evenly across the rice paper.
7. Fold the sides of the rice paper in over the fillings.
Tip: The final roll will be about 8-9 inches wide.
8. Starting at the edge closest to you, role the rice paper over the fillings as tight as you can.
Tip: Once the rice paper is hydrated it is fairly tough to pulls and stretches.
9. Continue rolling until the roll is completely sealed.
Tip: Do not set the finished rolls down so that they are touching each other—it will be hard to separate them if they get stuck together. Wrapping each role is a sheet of waxed paper is useful, but not absolutely necessary.
10. Repeat the process with a new sheet of rice paper, until you run out of ingredients.
11. Serve at room temperature.
Tip: You could serve these rolls with a salad dressing as a dipping sauce, but the cabbage slaw inside was wet enough to make them quite moist enough to eat plain.
Note: One summer roll per person was quite filling.