Of course I’ve discussed my childhood love of Chinese restaurants before. By Chinese restaurants I mean Chinese-American restaurants, of course. As a kid nothing could get me in the car quicker than the promise of cheap fried shrimp. Unless of course it was the thrill of cheap fried giant egg rolls served with a plum sauce so sweet you could ice a Coca-Cola cake with it.
It seems like years since I’ve had big, crunchy egg rolls like those I grew up on in the 70s and 80s. They’re very hard to find in Los Angeles, though I can still eat them sometimes when I travel. There are places in Florida that still serve them. There are places in Florida where you can still find some of the other dinosaurs of my youth, such as Chicken Kiev and pimento cheese. I love California, but generally when you see egg rolls on the menu it really means spring rolls. However, when you see pimento cheese on the menu– you’ve probably made a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in Macon, Georgia. They have good pimento cheese in Georgia (where it’s properly pronounced pa-men-ah).
Of course I’m not discrediting spring rolls. Spring rolls are delicious and I’m sure more authentically Asian than the egg rolls I remember so fondly. Spring rolls are fresher too, with crunchy insides instead of crunchy outsides.
Oh well, times have changed and I’ve changed with them– but I still love egg rolls. However, they don’t have to be fried as long as they’re crunchy on the outside. They also don’t have to be served with that sickly sweet plum sauce.
My puff pastry version is a mash up of classic egg rolls and another crunchy favorite of mine, turnovers. I call them eggroll-overs. Which may be a little too cute. So I’ve decided to serve this updated version with a modern day sweet chile sauce that has plenty of heat. It’s my favorite part of this recipe (other than the crunch, of course). GREG