~Cold & Creamy Crab Rangoon Dip w/Wonton Cups~
Crab meat. I love it. Fresh, frozen or pasteurized, it's an ingredient that has rocked my food world. With it, I make an array of hot and cold appetizers and hors d'oeuvres. I use it to make steamy crab bisque and add it to several seafood soups and stews too. I adore an ice-cold crab salad or crab salad sandwich, and, I can't resist a well-made crab cake or crab cake sandwich. There's more. I can't count the of number classic main-course meals I make with crab.
If you've eaten in a Chinese-American restaurant you know what crab Rangoon is -- it's a staple appetizer on the menu. It consists of: crab meat, scallions and seasoned cream cheese all wrapped up in a wonton, deep-fried and served with a sweet dipping sauce. What some folks don't realize is: All crab meat is fully-cooked and ready to eat. That means: The filling used to make crab Rangoon is delicious served chilled as a dip or spread.
I use my food processor to make my dip in 3-4 minutes.
8 or 16 ounces jumbo lump or lump crab meat, well-drained, the best available
4 or 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature, very soft
1/4 or 1/2 cup 1/4"-sliced scallions, white and light-green parts only (1 or 2 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons or 1 tablespoon garlic paste
1 tablespoon or 2 tablespoons ginger paste
1 1/2 teaspoons or 1 tablespoon Chinese-style soy sauce*
2 or 4 dozen, 3"-3 1/4"-square wonton wrappers
duck sauce or sweet and sour sauce, for garnishing each appetizer
*Note: To steer this appetizer in the direction of Thailand, add 2 or 4 tablespoons minced cilantro to the cream cheese mix, substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons or 1 tablespoon Thai seasoning soy sauce for Chinese soy sauce, and, garnish with Mae Ploy (sweet chili sauce).
~Step 1. Place crab meat on a paper-towel lined plate, to allow paper to absorb excess moisture. Prep and place the scallions in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Using a series of 25-30 rapid on-off pulses, process to minced bits and pieces, stopping to scrape down the sides of the work bowl with a rubber spatula once or twice during the processing. Add the cream cheese, garlic paste, ginger paste and soy sauce. With motor running, process until thoroughly combined and smooth, about 25-30 seconds.
~ Step 2. Transfer the cream cheese mixture to a medium or large bowl. Add the well-drained crab meat. Using the rubber spatula, gently fold the crab meat into the cream cheese, doing your best to allow the meat to remain in large lumps.
Note: Dip is ready to serve now or can be covered and refrigerated several hours or overnight.
I use my oven to bake my wonton cups in 5-6 short minutes.
For those who don't know, these small squares of flattened dough are very versatile. They can be boiled, steamed, pan-fried, deep-fried and/or baked. When I bake with them, I usually place them in mini-muffin cups. When they emerge from the oven, they are brown and crispy -- pretty little cups, each one ready and waiting for a dollop of an interesting savory or sweet filling.
Making mini-wonton cups is straightforward: Lay one wonton skin on top of each of 12 mini-muffin cups. Using a wooden tart tamper or your fingertips, push each skin down to form a flat bottom. Bake in a 350° oven, until pretty golden brown around the edges, 5-6 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately remove from pans. Cool and fill with a savory or sweet filling.
Note: Wonton cups can be made several hours or up to one day in advance -- Do not cover.
Fill each wonton cup with 2 teaspoons of crab Rangoon dip & garnish with a bit of sweet & sour sauce or duck sauce:
Special Equipment List: paper towels; cutting board; chef's knife; food processor; large rubber spatula; miniature-sized muffin tins, enough for 2-4 dozen appetizers.
Cook's Note: Colossal-, Jumbo- and Lump- crabmeat all come from the two largest muscles connecting the swimming legs of the crab. Colossal and Jumbo are whole, unbroken pieces with the latter being smaller. Lump consists of broken pieces of jumbo lump. Backfin crabmeat consists of flakes of white meat from Lump and Special (meat from the body cavity). Claw Meat is pink meat from the swimming fins and Claw Fingers are pink meat tips of the pinchers.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2017)