When it comes to throwing parties, I have learned the following important lesson about food prep: if you try to make eight hot appetizers in the thirty minutes before a party, you are going to cry. Even if you’re fancy enough to have a dual oven, the scene will not be pretty. You may find yourself with teeth gnashed down to itty bitty nubs and clumps of your own hair clutched in your fists from all the teeth-gnashing and hair-tearing. It is, in a word, A-Big-Angry-Stress-Machine-That-Will-Not-Put-You-in-a-Party-Mood. And when throwing a party, this is not ideal. Trust me, I know from experience. Eleven years of throwing a large Christmas party for 30 people has taught me a few things, one being that trying to make several hot dishes immediately beforehand turns me into a raging maniac. Another being, make sure everyone takes their tacky White Elephant gifts home with them instead of leaving them at your house. (I am, of course, referring to the Toilet Tattoo Incident of 2012.)
This year, when planning our Christmas party menu, I decided I wanted to minimize the stress and keep all the teeth in my mouth and the hair on my head. (After all, I just had a root canal and crown that cost about as much as a swanky Alaskan cruise, so yeah, I’m keeping that baby.) The search was on: what tasty cold appetizers could I make ahead and simply pop out of the fridge come party time? I settled on these mango-lime crab wonton cups as one choice, since they were well reviewed on Food Network. And wow, am I glad I did. Not only were they easy and fun to make, but they’re pretty healthy, too! The filling of lime-laced mango, celery, and cilantro in a baked-not-fried wonton made for a whole-food combination my conscience gave me no trouble about serving (unlike my soon-to-be-blogged pumpkin cheesecake). Plus, our guests DEVOURED them! The entire group of guests had barely arrived before these things were 100% GONE. FINI. OVER AND OUT. So I think they were a winner on all fronts.
Now, even though holiday party season is over, I’d be happy to make these again for any gathering or potluck…especially since it’s the New Year and like everyone else, my thoughts are trained a little more on healthy eating. Happy New Year!
Mango Lime Crab Wontons
Adapted from Food Network
For the wonton cups:
18 wonton wrappers
2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
For the dressing:
1 tsp. lime zest
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
For the crab filling:
1/2 lb. lump crab meat (I even got away with a 6 oz. can of crab)
1 stalk celery, finely diced
heaping 1/2 c. mango, diced
1/4 c. green onions, sliced thin
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat bottom and sides of 18 mini muffin tin cups (1.5 12-cup tins or 2 9-cup tins) with cooking spray. Press one wonton wrapper in the bottom of each mini muffin well to make a cup shape–you will probably have to make it overlap on itself a bit. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake 8-10 minutes or until crisp. Remove from tins and let cool.
- Make the dressing: in a medium bowl, combine lime juice, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Whisk in olive oil.
- Make the filling: to the dressing, add crab meat, celery, mango, green onions, and cilantro. Toss the whole thing until well combined.
- Fill wonton cups with crab mixture. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 24 hours before serving.
Serves 4-6 as an appetizer.