This is the first of a four-part series featuring fish hors d’œuvre using one main ingredient — tilapia fillets. These dishes — two rather eclectic spring rolls (lumpia) and fish sticks — can be served as hors d’œuvre (appetizers) or as main entrees. It all depends on the occasion. If you’re serving them for cocktails, then you serve them as appetizers. But, in everyday life, since appetizers are not really a part of the Filipino meal (we know appetizers are finger food or pica-pica which usually go with ice-cold beer), they’re great with rice too. In fact, we just had them for lunch today.
You’re probably thinking that’s three dishes, so, why does it say this is the first in a four-part series? Well, I’ve thrown in a little extra too — garlicky mayo-vinaigrette dip. That’s the fourth part.
I’m posting all four at the same time, the last three as future entries which will become publicly viewable at 24-hour intervals, the last one to appear on Maundy Thursday.
Shall we now go to the recipe for fish, ham and cheese spring rolls?
What’s the idea behind this dish? Well, it was inspired by the classic cordon bleu — that wonderful fried-to-a-crisp dish that consists of a slice of ham and cheese sandwiched between thin sheets of chicken breast fillets. I just thought I’d orientalize a thoroughly continental dish.
This recipe will yield four rather large spring rolls. If you intend to serve them as a main course, with rice, simply double, tripe or quadruple the ingredients. Well, except the vegetable cooking oil for deep-fying. Two to three cups are enough to cook over a dozen spring rolls.
2 tilapia (or other fleshy) fillets
4 strips of cheese
1 slice of ham
4 large spring roll wrappers
1 to 2 cups of vegetable cooking oil
Cooking procedure :
A note about the tilapia fillets. My husband bought the fillets from S&R but you can just ask your suki in the wet market to fillet the tilapia for you.
Cut each fish fillet into two strips. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Cut the ham into four strips.
Place a strip of fish near the center of a spring roll wrapper. Top with strips of ham and cheese. Roll, gathering the sides of the wrapper as you do. Seal the edges by wetting them with an little water.
Fry the prepared spring rolls in hot vegetable oil until nicely browned.
The cooked spring rolls will be rather large so you might want to chop each into two portions before serving.