By the way, it was the sauce in this recipe that first sold me on summer rolls. I’d never eaten them until one day, years ago, when Chinese cookbook author Rosa Ross was a guest chef in my Gourmet magazine dining room. Rosa happens to make the most delicious peanut dipping sauce on the planet. That day at Gourmet, I killed a bunch of those rolls just so I could return for yet another mouthful of her sauce.
Years later, at work on my second cookbook, I started concocting a peanut sauce of my own. I did a ton of research, trying to sort all the possible ingredients. But to keep myself from filching her ideas, I deliberately didn’t check Rosa’s recipe. When my rolls didn’t turn out to be as wonderful as hers, I was forced to look at her formula. It featured most of the usual suspects: peanut butter, of course, and hoisin, sesame oil and soy sauce.
But it also contained one ingredient that I saw in no other recipe — scallions. Who knew that two lonely little scallions could make all the difference? I called up Rosa and asked if she’d allow me to use her recipe, slightly adapted, in my cookbook, and give her credit. She graciously said yes. Now I’m sharing that sauce with you. Next picnic, don’t be surprised if your kids start ignoring the chips and digging the veggies.
Just blame it on the peanut sauce.
FRESH SUMMER ROLLS WITH SPICY PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE
Start to finish: 40 minutes
Makes 16 rolls
For the dipping sauce:
3/4 cup smooth unsalted natural peanut butter
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
2 to 3 tablespoons lime or lemon juice, or to taste
2 scallions, white and green parts, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil