I really, really love crab rangoon. My love for the creamy center and crispy outer shell, brought to a peak on my tongue by the sweetness of the sauce, have led to more than one late-night take-out call from my residences through the years. Mmmmmm, crab rangoon…. (insert Homer-Simpsonesque gurgly drooling sound here)
Given the downright indecent degree to which I enjoy these fried treats, it is not big surprise that I decided that they should be one of the tasty snackity canapes available to my tastebuds over this last weekend… After all, you only turn 30 a maximum of once per lifetime, so why not make it special?
(Incidentally, my boo and I discovered that the most amusing way to say “canapes” is to pretend you’re saying “can of peas” with a drawl. Don’t scoff. Try it. I defy you to not giggle a little.)
It is probably to the unfortunate long-term detriment to my cholesterol levels that I discovered how fun and easy these are to make, and how much better the sauce is when it’s made at home.
Ooh, and speaking of the sauce… if you have some left over, may I suggest you try a bit on Stonewall Kitchen’s Roasted Garlic Crackers with a schmear of fresh goat cheese? So gooooooood!
Also, if you have some of the filling left over after you’ve filled the wontons, it’s pretty amazing as an omelet filling, along with some cream cheese and sliced scallions.
With all that said, a few hints and suggestions:
I splurged on real creab-meat for my birthday, and it really is infinitely superior in flavor to the ones made with artificial crab. With that said, there are few meats more expensive (and less sustainably harvested) meats, and there is a difference of $20+ per pound between the real and the artificial crab. Get the real if you can, but do what you must: I will be honest, I will probably make it with the artificial crab sometimes.
If you do go with real crab, there is no reason to get the more expensive large-lump crab: you’ll just be breaking the lumps down, so it’s actually kinda silly to do so.
Don’t skip the step where you chill the wontons between the two fryings, even if you are planning on serving them immediately. Cooling them down helps to ascertain that the filling doesn’t overheat and leak out of the wrappers.
Regarding the oil: I suggest using at least 25% peanut oil, instead of just canola. This will really enhance the flavor of the crispy outer-layer.
You will never fry more than three at a time, because the fry time is so short. If you have a deep-fat fryer, great. If not, you can just use a medium-sized saucepan for the oil: you don’t need to use a large pan.
Make sure the fat is hot enough before you start frying, or you will end up with floppy, flaccid, unappetizing canapes. No one loves a flaccid canape. It is, of course, optimal if you have a deep-fat thermometer. If you don’t, scatter in a few drops of water from your fingertips into the oil. If it really comes to life, popping like Rice krispies’ evil big brother, then you may begin.
These can be prepared in advance, and then kept in the refrigerator until you are ready for the second-fry: we didn’t eat them all the first night I made them, and so I was able to enjoy some, fresh and hot and crispy, the next day. And I was happy.
Crab Rangoon with Apricot Sauce
- 1 lb. cream cheese, softened
- 1 lb. crab meat (separated into small pieces if in chunks)
- 2 t garlic, chopped
- 2 oz. scallions, sliced
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Worcestershire sauce to taste
- sesame oil to taste
- 48 wonton skins
For the sauce:
- 12 oz. apricot preserves (preferably one with no corn syrup in it, and of course locally-made is usually better)
- 1 T + 2 t fresh ginger, grated (or to taste: I love the taste of ginger, so I really put it in there)
- 1 1/2 t dry mustard
- 2 T red wine vinegar
- Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer and mix until soft.
- Add the crab meat, garlic and green onions. Season with salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce (about 1 t) and sesame oil (about 2-3 t).
- Place several wonton skins on a work surface. Brush the edges with water. Place approximately 1 T of the cream cheese mixture in the center of each skin (after you do a few, you will get a sense of just how much to add for them to be full, but not too full to seal). Fold the wonton skin in half and seal the edges.
- Deep-fry the wontonsat 350 degrees F, one at a time, for 10 seconds. Remove with a pair of cooking tongs, drain well, and refrigerate until cooled or until you are ready to serve.
- At serving time, deep-fry the wontons at 350 degrees F, three at a time, until crisp, approximately 1 minute. Serve with Apricot sauce.
To make the sauce:
- Combine all the ingredients in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat until the preserves melt and the flavors blend. Best hot or at room temperature.