I approach my kitchen as a scientist would approach his laboratory - a proving ground for the seemingly trivial concepts that flit throughout my mind at the most inopportune moments and take hold on my attention until the drama of the end result can be played out, for better or worse. In this regard, I make no secret of the fact that I've endured my fair share of failures, as has every kitchen warrior worth his salt. But over time, the craft is honed and the majority of those failures become near misses that can be tinkered with until they are transformed into successes. And therein, lies the joy and exuberance I feel each time I set foot in the kitchen. I enter with a simple, and at times, ludicrous, idea for flavor, and nine times out of ten, leave with recipe I can't wait to unleash on my family and friends.
This recipe is one that struck me as I walked through the cream cheese aisle of my local grocery. I wanted an appetizer that would be bright and textural, and somehow felt decadently lush with a zip of spice. The end result was exactly what I imagined. Enjoy!
1. Begin by preparing your veggies - mince the garlic and chop the green onions. Slice the jalapeno peppers length-wise and remove seeds. Then, finely dice the jalapenos as shown in the photo below.
2. Once your veggies are prepared as described above, combine minced garlic, green onions, diced jalapeno pepper, garlic powder, salt, pepper, soy sauce, crab meat and 4 oz. each of softened Chive & Onion and Strawberry flavored cream cheese as shown in photos above.
3. Cover mix with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
4. Defrost egg roll wraps overnight in refrigerator. When defrosted, place a stack of 5 or 6 wraps on a cutting board and cut into quarters. (This recipe will make approximately 20 individual pieces)
5. Place a dollop of the chilled mixture in the center of each quarter. Be careful not overfill because mixture will leak or even explode out of wrapper while cooking.
6. Wet two opposite edges with water and press together firmly between fingers to seal (as shown below).
7. Wet each edge and press two opposite ends together firmly between fingers. Be sure to seal every edge completely. (Making sure there are no gaps and all edges are completely sealed is important or you may end up with a bunch of hollow fried wrappers by the time you're finished!)
8. Heat oil to 350º to 365º.
9. Drop in four or five pieces at once. After a couple of minutes, they will float to surface. As they begin to brown, flip over and let cook a few more minutes until golden brown.
10. Carefully remove and let drain on a paper towel or a rack.
Making the Strawberry Reduction:
1. To make the Strawberry Reduction sauce, take 10 o 12 ripened strawberries and wash thoroughly. Finely dice the fruit into small pieces.
2. Combine diced strawberries with 1/2 cup of water and 2 tsp of sugar in a medium saucepan.
3. Turn heat to medium/high and stir continuously until mixture begins to steam and comes to a boil.
4. Lower heat down and let simmer, again stirring continuously. Making a reduction is simple - the longer you let it cook, the thicker it will be. In this instance, I want a nice thick end result.
5. As it continues to cook, you can see it thicken as it begins to bubble. Break up the larger pieces of fruit with a wooden spatula. (TIP: You can even use a potato masher to accomplish this!)
6. When thickened as shown below, pour into blender or use a submersion blender to form a nice puree. (OPTIONAL: You can dice yet another jalapeno and add it to the blender for an added zip.)
7. Pour over Crab Rangoon and garnish with fresh strawberries.