The flavor of fresh crab is so good on its own that my primary goal in developing this hors d’oeuvre was to use a minimum of ingredients. I wanted to highlight the crab flavor and texture, not mask it. Although I keep a jar of sambal ulek—an Indonesian hot chile paste—in my refrigerator at all times, I thought it might be too obscure to use in this recipe. When I went shopping to buy sambal ulek, my Asian market was out of stock, but my local supermarket had it in the Asian-foods section—yours probably will, too.–Diane Morgan
LC Sambal Oelek Note
We’re going to borrow the author’s words here, seeing as she demystified this ingredient so well: “Sambal oelek, also spelled sambal ulek, is an Indonesian condiment made from chiles, salt, vinegar, and sometimes garlic and tamarind. Sold in jars, it is a fiery paste with bright flavors. A little goes a long way. Other Asian chile pastes with garlic can be substituted, but this one is a favorite of mine. If refrigerated after opening, it will keep indefinitely.” Yup. What she said.
Special Equipment: Two 12-cup miniature muffin tins
Crab in Wonton Cups Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 35 M
- Makes 20
- For the wonton cups
- 20 wonton wrappers (from one 14-ounce package), each cut into 3-inch squares
- 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- For the crab filling
- 8 ounces freshly cooked crabmeat, picked over for shells and drained well
- 1/4 cup store-bought or homemade mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon minced cilantro leaves
- 1 teaspoon snipped chives
- 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (preferably organic)
- 1/4 teaspoon sambal oelek, or more to taste
- 20 cilantro leaves, for garnish
- Make the wonton cups
- 1. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Have ready two 12-cup miniature muffin tins.
- 2. Working with 1 wonton wrapper at a time, lightly brush the top side of each wrapper with sesame oil, and press it, oiled side down, into a miniature muffin cup. Repeat with the remaining wrappers, being careful not to use all the oil. Brush the bottom of each wonton cup with a little sesame oil. Bake until the wontons are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely in the tins, then remove carefully. (You can store the wonton cups in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 2 days.)
- Make the crab filling
- 3. Place the crabmeat in a medium bowl and use your fingers to flake the crabmeat. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir in the mayonnaise, minced cilantro, chives, lemon zest, and sambal oelek. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding a bit more sambal oelek, if desired. Cover and refrigerate until ready to fill the wonton cups. (The crab filling can be made up to 1 day ahead.)
- 4. To assemble, place the wonton cups on a serving platter and spoon about 2 teaspoons crab filling into each cup. Garnish with a cilantro leaf. Serve immediately.
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