Rich duck confit and crispy, lightly salted duck skin are balanced by light crisp veggies and fragrant herbs in these flavorful yet light Vietnamese-style fresh spring rolls (gỏi cuốn, sometimes also called summer rolls or salad rolls in English). Serve these rolls with spicy, sweet, and sour Vietnamese Spring Roll Dipping Sauce (Nước Mắm Pha) or sweet and salty tương xào (hoisin sauce) as an appetizer or light entree.
- 2 confit duck legs
- 1 package daikon sprouts
- ½ cup cucumber, julienned
- ½ cup carrot, julienned
- ½ cup red cabbage, finely shredded
- 10-12 fresh mint leaves
- 10-12 fresh Thai basil leaves
- 10-12 spring roll wrappers (bánh tráng)
- Pull the skin off the confit duck legs and reserve. Strip the meat from the bones and shred it. If desired, reserve the bones for stock making.
- Put the reserved strips of skin in a lightly oiled frying pan (just enough oil to film the bottom of the pan) over medium-high heat. Fry the skin until completely crispy, then remove it from the pan to paper towels to dry.
Pat the duck skin dry, then lightly salt it and crumble it into small pieces.
Briefly dip a spring roll wrapper in cool water until it softens and becomes pliable, then move it to a cutting board to build your roll. Repeat as you make each roll.
In a line down the center of each spring roll wrapper put ¼ cup duck meat, 1 teaspoon of the crispy duck skin, an equal portion of each the three julienned vegetables, daikon sprouts (or withhold them as a garnish), one torn mint leaf and one torn Thai basil leaf.
Fold each perpendicular side in so that it covers its side of the ingredients by one to one half inch. Fold the bottom up and over to enclose the ingredients completely. Roll this “pouch” up along the remaining top flap, very gently tucking in as you go. Let the finished roll sit for a moment in the residual water to self-seal. Repeat with the other rolls.
Optional: Cut the spring rolls in half on the bias, stand the cut sides up, and stuff some of the daikon sprouts into them.
Depending on the size of your spring roll wrappers (and how much you fill them), this recipe makes 8-12 spring rolls.
You can find duck confit in the meat cases of more upscale grocery stores and specialty gourmet grocers, as well as online from specialty meat and poultry purveyors like D’Artagnan and Maple Leaf Farms. If you’re feeling adventurous, and you have some extra time, you can also make your own duck confit– the process is actually fairly simple, provided you have all the ingredients and the time to do it yourself.
Spring roll wrappers can be found in most Asian grocery stores, or you can order them online. I used the “Three Ladies” brand since that was what was available in my local H-Mart, but there are a plenty of other brands on the market, like “Red Rose” (aka “Rose Brand”), “Sailboat,” and “Flying Horse.”
I recommend using a seedless variety or cucumber, such as English hothouse or Persian cucumbers, otherwise you will want to trim way the center seeded portion of your cucumber.
Suggested Drink Pairings:
Many people find pairing wine with Vietnamese food problematic, but it really just depends on the dish and your personal preference. For spring rolls, you’re going to want an aromatic, dry, and light bodied white wine, like dry Riesling, Gewürztraminer, or Viognier- these wines have a crisp, brightness and a touch of sweetness that plays well with the combination of delicate herbs, crisp veggies, and rich duck, and will also hold up to the heat of the spicy chilies in the dipping sauce. If white wine isn’t your thing, a light rosé would also work. Avoid “buttery” wines–like many Chardonnays–which are typically made using heavy oak aging or malolactic secondary fermentation processes, as these wines tend to taste “heavy” when paired with the lighter flavors found in many Vietnamese dishes. Instead, look for unoaked (steel-aged) or lightly oaked wines with floral or fruit notes (think citrus, green apple, pear, and pineapple) and good acidity.
If you’re more of a beer drinker, a Vietnamese beer would be a natural choice. Some of the best known brands (which you might be able to find in your local liquor store’s beer imports section) include Saigon Red, Saigon Special, Hanoi Beer, 333, Huda, and Su Tu Trang (White Lion). Craft brews are becoming more popular in Vietnam, but may be difficult to track down- if they’re available in your area, check out Platinum, Pasteur Street Brewing, East West Brewing, Winking Seal, Heart of Darkness, and Fuzzy Logic. If you can’t find Vietnamese beer, you can pick up one of the easier-to-find international brands like Tiger, Biere Larue, Sapporo, or Heineken.
last updated August 17, 2023