Cooking For Others: The Best Bites, Ever
VENUE: Someone else’s big kitchen
PARTY SIZE: 25 – 75
TYPE: Catered Cocktail Party with Hors d’Oeuvres
MENU: Shrimp & Mango Wonton Crisps; Soy-Sesame Ahi Tuna & Avocado Wonton Crisps
I recently posted my manifesto on why wonton skins are a leftover’s best friend. But I still haven’t shared with you the reason they entered my fridge/freezer in the first place.
Back in February we catered Jordana’s parents’, Andrea and David’s, 30th wedding anniversary party. It wasn’t our first gig. But it was still our largest party to date. And our novice response was to propose a gargantuan menu of finger food. We pulled it off—all 18 dishes, that is. But I’d say we definitely came away with some lessons, along with ten canvas bags full of leftovers in Tupperware, to take into account for next time.
One of the best lessons: wonton crisps are awesome. During our menu-planning stage, while I was searching for inspiration, I came across this recipe. How cute, I thought. What a creative way to use wonton skins. Better yet, how convenient that these crisps can be made up to two weeks in advance!
Since our menu was tailored to the guests of honor’s set of varying tastes, we proposed Asian-flavored tuna tartar cups to satisfy Andrea’s love for seafood. The bites were a huge hit.
Being quarter-life cooks and all, we don’t cook that often with expensive ingredients like sushi-grade fish. As I ran out to Citarella the morning of the party, I was a little nervous about the cost of the tuna. But the cups required so little filling that they ended up being one of the most affordable items on the menu.
So for our next catering event, we made them again—this time with a shrimp and mango salad tossed with creamy ginger dressing. These, Cara and I agreed, were even better than the tuna version, though they had the same plus side: that we needed to buy very little shrimp to fill all of the crisps.
Somehow after making 300 bites, I still had enough wonton skins left from the original pack to make two versions of ravioli—one with sundried tomato, one with pea puree—and 100 more wonton crisps, for our next catering gig, Sarah’s Birthday. The pack seemed infinite.
For your next cocktail party and your next and your next, I encourage you to pick up a pack of wonton skins and make these elegant little hors d’oeuvres.
They really are just the best bites. Ever.
Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Shrimp & Mango Wonton Crisps
Makes 48 bites
12 wonton skins, cut into 4 squares
3/4 lb medium peeled and deveined shrimp, cooked*
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 ½ tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 lime, juiced
1/4 teaspoon siracha
½ tbsp honey
½ tsp salt
1 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
*If you are not buying pre-cooked shrimp, simply bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the shrimp for 3-5 minutes, until they’ve turned pink. Drain and immediately transfer shrimp to an ice bath or place the colander under very cold water until the shrimp are no longer steaming hot.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place wonton skins on a cutting board and brush lightly with oil. Press each into a miniature muffin tin, oiled side down. Bake until wonton crisps are golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then set aside and repeat. (The crisps can be made up to two weeks in advance.)
Cut each shrimp into 4-5 pieces–small enough to fit in the crisps–and peel and dice the mango into same-sized pieces.
In a food processor (if you do not have one, minced finely and combine in a bowl), combine the mayo, mustard, ginger, lime juice, siracha, honey, and salt. Pulse to combine. (This can be made up to a week in advance.)
About an hour before service, toss together the shrimp, mango, ginger dressing, and cilantro. Spoon into the crisps and serve immediately.