I truly love a backyard grill session. The only problem is I don’t have a grill. So besides depending on the kindness of other party-throwing friends, I have to figure out how to best bring something. I’m always either shlepping my ingredients raw (drumsticks with a chipotle-garlic mixture tucked underneath the skin), in pieces (pasta salad assembled save for to-be-grilled vegtables) or as a ready-made (dips!).
And you know what, sometimes I’d rather just go with the ready-made. It’s usually easier to transport, plus this ensures your dish will incite proper attention: while the pork shoulder and corn are finishing on the grill, your dish is the only thing consumable and guests won’t be preoccupied with the grill-mark enhanced food, yet. So think of this dish as an appetizer to the hot stuff.
So for all you sans grill, feel free to bring this no-cook app to today’s Memorial Day party. Recipe post jump.
Feta and Arugula Spring Roll
Holy crap I can’t believe I just discovered spring rolls. Yes, Maids, I know about your creation, I just haven’t tried it yet myself.
They’re very easy to work with—soak in water for about 30 or so seconds, until just pliable, and then place stuffing in upper center of the roll, fold the left side over (horizontally) then the right and then fold down vertically to make a pillow. Well, at least that’s how 80 taught me.
The other great aspect of a spring roll is its lack of dominant flavor, so not only Asian-themed ingredients may apply. Hence the creamy feta and arugula filling.
In a food processor blend together feta, 2 cloves of garlic, dijon mustard, fresh sage, salt, pepper, a second of oil and, wait for it: pickled ramp vinegar.
Just when I thought my days of ramping were over, I received this gift from Dennis Marron, chef of Jackson 20. I recently went to a media dinner there and Charissathe PR girl always makes sure guests take home a goodie (more of Urbana‘s mission fig jam please!)
Anyway, I’m sure you can sub in white wine vinegar and chives/scallions/garlic chives, but this vinegar also had some sweetness to it (maybe from the pickling?) but I’m sure you can mess around to find something that makes your dip pop (honey?).
Blend all of that until the feta is fairly creamy and paste-like. When you dig the flavor and consistency (not to runny) place a dollop on the spring roll and just a tablespoon of chopped arugula and fold. For fun, I alternated the order of the filling so every other pillow would show the cheese or the arugula.
Bring to party. Be star of show.
More: appetizer recipes