If you don’t want to deep fry crab Rangoon, how about baking them up in little wonton skin cups? The result is a mini deviled snack. I made these up for a cocktail party that we attended over the weekend. They crabby cups disappeared in a flash. People said they were particularly good with gin and tonics.
If you have Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, the deviled crab (cua farci, page 44) is fabulous as a filling too. The filling below is a tweaked rendition of what’s used for Sriracha and crab Rangoon wontons. The water chestnut and shrimp contribute texture. Use the classic Trader Vic’s crab Rangoon filling, if you like.
Deviled foods are typically seasoned with hot spices and often presented stuffed into something (think of deviled eggs). When crab is involved, the mixture is baked with a bread crumb topping for a delicate crusty finish. In this case, the Sriracha crab mixture is stuffed into wonton skin cups. You’ll need 1 or 2 mini-cupcake or muffin pans to make these.
6 ounces cream cheese or Tofutti cream cheese, at room temperature
3 to 4 teaspoons Sriracha chile sauce
1 teaspoon light (regular) soy sauce
3 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Generous 1/3 cup chopped water chestnut
4 ounces well drained lump crab meat
2 ounces chopped cooked shrimp meat
Salt, to taste
24 wonton skins
1 to 2 tablespoons bread crumbs or panko
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
1. To make the filling, in a bowl, combine the cream cheese and chile sauce. I tend to use the smaller quantity when using the Rooster (Huy Fong) brand. Add the soy sauce, green onion, pepper, lemon zest, water chestnut, crab meat and shrimp. Use a fork to mix well. Taste and add salt, as needed. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes before using, or refrigerate up to a day in advance. You should have about 1 1/2 cups.
2. Brush oil on one side of the wonton skins. Center each skin, oiled side down, over a mini-cupcake or muffin cup (1 1/4 inches wide at the bottom). Use the fingers of one hand to pick up the four edges of the square and the index finger of your other hand to press the skin into the cup, pleating and smoothing out the sides.
3. Lightly fill each wonton cup with about 1 tablespoon of the crab mixture. Sprinkle the tops with breadcrumbs and a tiny bit of butter (or a film of oil from a spray pump). Bake in a 350-degree oven for 6 to 8 minutes, until the edges are barely golden or starting to brown.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Lift from the pan and set on a parchment paper or foil-lined baking sheet. Each should hold its shape nicely. (This initial baking may be done a day ahead.) I let some of these go a little too far but they were fine in the end:
4. Twenty minutes before serving, pop the baking sheet of “crabby cups” into a 350-degree oven to reheat, crisp the bottoms and sides, as well as further color the top edges, about 10 to 12 minutes. Carefully broil at the end if the crumbs haven’t colored up enough for you. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
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