This salad served in rice paper wrappers was inspired by the cuisine of Southeast Asia. The wraps can be made two or three hours in advance. To keep them fresh until serving time, place them in a dish, cover with a damp paper towel, then cover tightly with plastic wrap.
8 wraps or 4 salads
2 cups strawberries, hulled, dried, and halved lengthwise, divided
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon light corn syrup or honey
2 cups crisp lettuce, such as iceberg, red leaf, or hearts of romaine, torn into bite-size pieces
2 cups baby salad greens
8 12-inch diameter rice paper wrappers
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon dark soy sauce
- Place a baking rack on a shallow pan. Put half of the strawberries on the rack, cut side up. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and cayenne pepper. Lightly sprinkle sugar mixture over the strawberries. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Combine the balsamic vinegar and corn syrup or honey in a shallow glass dish. Place the remaining strawberry halves in the dish, cut side down. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.
- Toss together crisp lettuce and salad greens.
- Make salad wrappers one at a time:
- Soak 1 sheet of rice paper in a bowl of hot water for about 10 seconds. Be certain that the entire wrapper gets wet, but not soggy. Place the wrapper on a damp paper towel, carefully smooth to remove any wrinkles.
- Just below the wrapper’s imaginary center line, place a straight row of strawberries (about 4 to 6, depending on size), cut side up. Use a combination of both types of strawberries. (Note: Reserve the leftover balsamic vinegar and corn syrup or honey mixture.) Top the strawberries with a handful of greens evenly distributed across the width of the wrapper.
- Gently press down on the greens with one hand while using your other hand to fold the left and right sides of the wrapper inward. The wrapper will extend over the greens about 1 and 1/2 inches at the center.
- Continue gently to press down on the greens and fold the bottom edge (side nearest you) of the wrapper over the greens so that the edge touches the imaginary center line.
- Hold the wrapper in place with your fingers and slip your thumbs under the wrapper. Then, roll into a tight cylinder. Set aside.
- To prepare the sauce, combine the reserved balsamic vinegar and corn syrup or honey mixture with the lime juice and dark soy sauce.
- To serve, use a sharp knife to cut the salad wraps in half crosswise at a slight angle. Stand them upright on a serving plate. Serve the sauce on the side.
- Rice paper wrappers can be found at Asian specialty stores. They are fragile, so it’s a good idea to have extras on hand.
- Avoid placing the salad wraps in the refrigerator because the rice paper wrappers will become tough.
- This salad can also be served in salad bowls. Just before serving time, place the greens in individual dishes and drizzle with the dressing. Top with the two types of strawberry halves.
- Lettuce is an enduring culinary friend. Ancient Greeks and Romans dined on some of the same lettuce types we eat today. Persian royalty served lettuce at banquets more than twenty-five hundred years ago. Hippocrates opined that it possessed medicinal properties. The Garden State is a top grower of lettuce.
- Cayenne pepper is as fiery hot as its flaming orange-red color implies. Sometimes called “red pepper,” cayenne is made with a combination of dried hot red chili peppers.
Per wrap: Calories 65; Total Fat 0g; Saturated Fat 0g; Cholesterol 1mg; Carbohydrate 15g; Fiber 1g; Sodium 187mg; Vitamin A 9%DV; Vitamin C 42%DV.
Per salad: Calories 83; Total Fat 0g; Saturated Fat 0g; Cholesterol 0mg; Carbohydrate 21g; Fiber 3g; Sodium 282mg; Vitamin A 18%DV; Vitamin C 85%DV.