It’s a well-documented fact that I am something of a physical disaster in the kitchen. This is in keeping with my general character and way of navigating the world–I’m clumsy, I fall over a lot, and my balance is terrible. As such, it makes perfect sense that I rarely make it out of the kitchen unscathed (as I may have mentioned before, I suspect it’s only a matter of time before the face of Jesus or Kate Middleton appears in the tangle of burn scars on my right arm). Knowing this, you’d think I might have the sense to avoid such extreme sports as, say, deep-frying without proper supervision or tools. You’d think I might consider ways in which to avoid obtaining a massive hot-oil burn on my fingertips. You’d think I might show some inclination toward self preservation.
You’d be wrong.
For all the damage it does to my insurance premiums, however, my cavalier attitude in the kitchen frequently nets some really glorious dishes–like the hoisin duck spring rolls I made the other day. For one reason or another, I found myself with an excess of duck meat and a craving for something fried; and, given that my pantry almost always looks like an asian grocery store exploded inside it, a spring roll seemed like an excellent way to deal with both my reality and my desire. Plus, I hadn’t injured myself in a while, and it really was time.
As woman cannot live by duck and oil alone, I opted to bulk up the filling with some braised savoy cabbage–with plenty of ginger and garlic, it’s about as addictive and savory as anything you’d ever hope to eat–and added a little crunch with some chopped scallions. The lightness of the cabbage was an excellent foil to the the rich roasted duck, and the sweetness of the hoisin made it complex, unctuous, and oh-so-irresistible. And, surprisingly, much easier than I expected! Of course, don’t limit yourself to this particular combination–I bet it would be equally lovely with tofu and carrots, or chicken, or anything else delicious that you’d like to fill the spring rolls with (I, personally, will probably try it with chicken and avocado next time).
A quick note before you attempt this, however: no matter how nimble you are, no matter how ninja-like and quick, RESIST THE TEMPTATION to flip your spring rolls over in the oil using your finger. I promise you, you are not fast enough to avoid sacrificing a fingerprint to the gods of molten oil. Trust me on this one.