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Roll up, roll up!

From Unna Burch – aka The Forest Cantina

I love that, as the seasons change, so does what we eat; food gets lighter and dinners don’t have to be hot.

Unna is a cookbook author, self-taught home cook, self-taught stylist & photographer. Find her on instagram.

By the end of each season, I am hanging out for change – by the end of winter I dream of salads, summer cherries and Pimms cups in the sun.

This recipe is delicious served as fresh spring rolls, or if you don’t have time to roll (they can be a little fiddly) then serve the filling as a ‘bowl’ instead.

I chose to use wood-smoked salmon. It has a delicate smokey flavour and the most amazing texture, really soft and melt-in-the-mouth. This dish is brought to life with fresh herbs and fresh chilli, and the avocado gives it a creaminess.

Salmon, fennel and avocado rice paper rolls

(Makes 12 rolls)

For the dipping sauce
1 cup organic tamari (or light soy)
1/2 cup runny honey
1/4 cup FairTrade sugar
1 thumb-size piece of ginger (skin on, sliced)
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

100g vermicelli noodles
1 pack rice paper wrappers
200g wood-smoked salmon
1 large avocado, thinly sliced
Lemon juice to serve
Extra dill to garnish

For the fennel and herb salad
1 large fennel bulb
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cucumber
1 long red chill, diced
Small bunch mint (I used a mix of common and Vietnamese) and dill, chopped
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds


First, put the jug on to boil for the noodles. Make the dipping sauce. Put all the ingredients for the dressing into a small pot, and whisk well to combine and dissolve sugar. Bring to the boil, then remove from heat, to steep while you prepare the rolls.

For the vermicelli noodles, put into a bowl and pour over boiling water. They are ready to use once they are soft from the boiling water, about three minutes. Drain and set aside.

Flake the salmon and set aside.

To make the salad, cut the fennel as thin as you can (I used a mandoline). Add to a bowl with the lemon juice, and toss well to prevent the fennel going brown. Cut the cucumber in half and scrape seeds out with a teaspoon; cut flesh into thin half-moon shapes. Add cucumber to the bowl with the remaining ingredients, seasoning with a little flaky sea salt.

To roll, take a large bowl of warm water and submerge a sheet of rice paper until softened but not completely soggy (if it’s too soft, it will rip easily). Put a small pile of noodles on the rice paper about 1cm from the edge, off centre, top with two slices of avocado, some fennel salad and a little salmon. Roll up like a cigar. Repeat until all the rolls are made.

Sieve the solids from the dipping sauce and put into bowls (optionally, add extra sliced chilli to the sauce).


To serve, squeeze lemon over the rice paper rolls and top with extra dill. If you are making bowls, put the noodles in a pile on the bottom, and place the salad on top to one side and the salmon next to it. Serve garnished with extra herbs, and a wedge of lemon on the side. Dress with the dipping sauce just before eating.


Our friends at Spy Valley have suggested their E BLOCK Sauvignon Blanc 2018 as a wine match.

Spy Valley E BLOCK Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Handpicked fruit from a unique single block of riverside vines selected for their refined flavour and structure.

A lingering experience of Citrus flower, lemon zest, grapefruit and white peach. The zesty citrus notes cut through the creamy avocado and the richness of the salmon perfectly.

A complex and balanced Sauvignon Blanc with a long invigorating finish.

First published in Capital issue #24
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