Summer in London, at least this year, is a sort of abbreviated and hilarious phenomenon. A farce, you might call it, if you happened to hail from New Jersey. Even at the tony independent (i.e. private) schools, which wrap up weeks earlier than the state (i.e. public) schools, summer break doesn’t start until mid-July. In mid-July, you will still be wearing sweaters and rain boots nearly every day. Last week I saw a woman wearing a down coat, and she wasn’t carrying one of those I-just-got-out-of-the-psych-ward plastic bags as a purse, either. They’re saying it’s the rainiest summer on record since 1910. I’m tempted to believe them, since it’s always raining. But then, when have you ever heard London described as sunny?
It doesn’t matter, really. What matters is making the most of these odd little wisps of summer before they fly right by. And one easy way to do that from the comfort of your cozy kitchen with the rain-proof roof is to make simple, breezy lunches that won’t weigh you down mentally or physically. Of course, it’s likely you’re reading from a place where there’s so much full-on summer it’s almost too hot to breathe (I hear there are many such places this year, though I can hardly imagine it), or a place where summer is behaving properly. If that’s the case, lucky us, because what could be better for a too-hot summer or a properly behaved summer than simple, breezy lunches that won’t weigh you down? Win win, chomp chomp. Good stuff.
These nori rolls combine some of the best characteristics of (1) sushi, (2) summer rolls, (3) burritos, and (4) MacGyver. They’re savory as shit…ake, full of raw fresh vegetables, have guac in them (always a good thing), and help save lives without using a gun. They’d be bikini-friendly, too, if I could stop shoving them into my mouth. Oh well, you can’t have it all.
A day or two of sun would be great, though.
Talk to you soon.
These light and savory rolls make an appealing summer lunch for the whole family. Experiment with fillings as much as you like. Just remember: don't fill them too much, and serve them right away so the nori doesn't get soggy. This recipe makes two rolls, which is enough for one serving. It can, of course, be multiplied to infinity and beyond.
- 2 sheets sushi nori
- 2 medium lettuce leaves, torn into pieces
- 1/2 cup guacamole or 1/2 avocado, sliced
- 1/4 cup grated carrot (or shave it into ribbons with a peeler)
- 1/4 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
- 1/4 English cucumber, cut into matchsticks
- 2 ounces smoked tofu, thinly sliced (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
Lay the sheets of nori side by side on a cutting board with the shinier side face down. Usually the sheets are rectangles with one side slightly longer than the other. If this is the case, place the sheets so the longer side is vertically oriented (like "portrait" as opposed to "landscape" orientation on a printer).
You'll be laying the filling ingredients in an approximately 2-inch-thick strip across the middle of each nori sheet from left to right. (Use half of each ingredient on each nori sheet.) Start with the lettuce (to create a little moisture barrier for the rest of the ingredients), and then layer on the guac or avocado, vegetables, and tofu.
Using your finger, "paint" the soy sauce onto the top and bottom edges of the nori sheets. This will help them stick together when you roll them.
Starting with the edge closest to you and moving away from you, roll up the nori. (You can use a sushi mat and roll it tightly if you like, but it also works fine to just casually roll it like a sleeping bag or a burrito without the tucked-in sides.
Cut in half and serve.