Open crab and tomato wontons
( SERVES 4 )
Photo by Tamara West
The flavour of freshly cooked crab meat is sweet, moist and delicious. The sense of satisfaction and look on your guests’ faces when they taste these wontons makes it well and truly worth the effort! They are great to serve as pre-dinner nibbles or as a starter.
New Zealand paddle crabs are available at fish markets throughout the year. When buying them, pick up the crabs, they should feel heavy and smell neutral, not strong at all or of ammonia. To cook, put on a pot of water to boil with 1 tsp of salt, a little sliced onion and celery. Cook the crabs for 4 minutes, plunge them into iced water for one minute, then reserve on paper towels.
To remove the crab meat, pull off the legs, crack the two main pincers open with kitchen scissors and prise out the flesh with a toothpick. Pull the top shell from the body, wash the interior guts away, remove the gills, then break the body in half. The body is made up of several small cavities where the flesh sits; use a toothpick to prise the flesh out. Continue to break the body into smaller pieces to get at the flesh. Leftover legs and body can be made into a delicious soup or broth.
If you don’t have time for cooking and picking crab meat, look for pasteurised crab meat at your supermarket or deli.
|1 packet||Wonton wrappers, I use the green "Choice" brand wonton pastry sheets|
|1 cup||Vegetable oil, for shallow frying|
|1 Tbsp||Vegetable oil|
|1 Tbsp||Shallots, finely chopped|
|1 Tbsp||Spring onion, finely chopped|
|¾ cup||Crab meat, prepared as above|
|¼ tsp||Flaky Marlborough sea salt|
|1 tsp||Fish sauce|
|¼ tsp||White pepper|
|½ tsp||Rice vinegar, mild|
|½ cup||Tomatoes, seeds and pulp removed, diced|
|2 Tbsp||Spring onions, green tips, sliced|
- Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan.
- Cut the wonton skins down to 7.5cm squares. Test the temperature of the oil by dropping in an off-cut — it should slowly crisp up and turn a light golden colour. If it browns too quickly take the oil off the heat to cool a little.
- Using a ladle to form a hollow dent, push one wonton skin at a time into the oil and cook. Take out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
- Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan, add the shallots and cook for three minutes, then add the spring onions and crab meat and remove from the heat.
- Add the salt, fish sauce, white pepper, rice vinegar, sugar, tomatoes and gently mix together.
- Spoon the crab mix into the wontons, sprinkle over sliced green spring onion tips and — to avoid the crispy wontons going soft — serve immediately.