Cooking For Others: The Best Bites, Ever

Posted by on Friday Jul 9th, 2010 | Print

EVENT: Various Catering gigs

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

**Recipe**

Shrimp & Mango Wonton Crisps
Makes 48 bites

Ingredients
12 wonton skins, cut into 4 squares
3/4 lb medium peeled and deveined shrimp, cooked*
1 mango
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.

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  • http://www.alittleginger.com Maddie

    I just made a chicken and mango slaw the other night, and was really surprised how bright and fresh the mango made everything taste. (Clearly, I’m a newbie at tropical fruits, but whatever.) This would be a fun way to indoctrinate myself further into the mango fan club!

  • Frankie

    Where do you get wonton skins?

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      You can get them at any asian grocer–they usually come frozen. Wholefoods might carry them as well, but u r probably better off in chinatown.

  • http://penniespoundsandponderings.blogspot.com little girl in the big world

    I just had a dinner party last night and could have totally used this recipe!! I ended up making a crostini and made the pastry from scratch. How easy are these!

    • http://penniespoundsandponderings.blogspot.com little girl in the big world

      I meant crostata

  • TheInternetCookingPrincess

    I heart working with won ton skins. (Frankie, you can find ‘fresh’ won ton skins’ at most mainstream groceries too – I always find mine near the alfalfa sprouts, randomly enough.) I usually make seared won tons or ravioli with them, but will definitely try crisping them with your method. (And what type of oil are you guys using?)

  • Kenn I

    The best thing I ate in 2010 is at Urban Farmer, in The Nines Hotel in Portland, OR. They call it the Cheddar Biscut, it’s served during weekend brunch. Cheedar biscut, toppped with sausage gravy, ontop rests a suveed, then crisped boneless chicken thigh, covered in organic greens, picked onions and a farm fresh sunnyside up egg. A little bit of lemon marmalade on the side. It is heaven, nad they have a $5.00 bloody Mary do it yourself bar.

    Subscribed-check! Facebook-check!, comment-check! going shopping for something to cook in my new pot-CHECK!

  • Bevelkan

    What is siracha?

  • Anonymous

    Nice