For a vegetarian option, substitute thin slices of firm tofu for the shrimp. These rolls pair well with the classic Vietnamese dipping sauce nuoc cham (pronounced, roughly, nook chom).
1. Prepare nuoc cham. In a small heatproof serving bowl, use a spoon to mash garlic, sugar, and red pepper flakes into a grainy paste. Pour hot water over mixture to dissolve sugar. Let cool slightly, then stir in lime juice, nom pla, and vinegar. Set aside.
2. Prepare summer rolls. Bring 6 cups water to boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. As soon as water boils, turn off heat, add noodles, and stir. Let noodles soak in hot water for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. Drain in a fine sieve, rinse with cold water, and drain again.
3. While noodles soak, prepare an assembly line with individual dishes (or piles on a cutting board) of lettuce leaves, cucumber, mint, cilantro, basil, and shrimp halves.
4. Fill a wide, shallow bowl with warm water and set it next to a work surface. Slide one rice paper sheet at a time into water, and submerge gently for about 20 seconds. Transfer to work surface and lightly pat dry.
5. Just below center of sheet, place 1 piece of lettuce, top with about 2 Tbsp. of noodles, then 6 to 8 pieces of cucumber matchsticks. Top cucumbers with herb leaves arranged in a row, alternating mint/cilantro/basil (using 2 leaves of each herb per roll).
6. Lift bottom of rice paper wrapper and fold it snugly over filling, creating a filled cylinder at bottom portion of wrapper. When filling is completely enclosed, fold in each side, then arrange 3 shrimp halves, pink side down, on rice paper just above cylinder. Continue rolling, and press lightly on seam to seal. Set roll on a platter to dry, seam side down. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 8 rolls. Cover with a damp towel if not serving immediately. Serve within 2 hours at room temperature, with nuoc cham or reduced sodium soy sauce.
Source: Hannaford fresh Magazine, May - June 2009