Vietnamese Grilled Shrimp Summer Rolls


Fire up your grill and get ready for some serious smoke.

Marinated and grilled shrimp are paired with quick pickles, lettuce, cilantro, mint, and vermicelli to make a classic Vietnamese summer roll. [Photographs: Joshua Bousel]

Vietnamese summer rightfully earn their name—the combination of fresh greens, tangy pickles, and grilled seafoods or meats that fill their thin rice wrappers certainly delivers seasonal flavors.

For these particular summer rolls, I marinated shrimp in a ubiquitous Vietnamese combination of fish sauce, sugar, garlic, and black pepper. Next I grilled the shrimp over high heat until just cooked through, then laid three out on top of a softened sheet of rice paper. I then topped each with quick pickled daikon, carrot, and cucumber, followed by rice vermicelli, bibb lettuce, cilantro, and mint and wrapped them up. I repeated that for the all shrimp I grilled and then served them alongside a peanut dipping sauce.

The shrimp had a slight salty and briny flavor from the marinade, with a touch of added sweetness. They served as a light base that got a lot of freshness from the herbs and lettuce, and a contrasting tang and crunch from the pickles. They were fine on their own, but even better when dipped into the nutty peanut sauce that heightened their complexity and added the right amount of extra moisture to really make them awesome.