Wonton skins (Recipe: wonton skin soup)
In the annals of medicine, nobody writes about it.
There are no tests, no consultations, no second opinons, no clinical trials.
And yet, this condition, this very real affliction, can be cured.
For those who, like me, occasionally succumb to wonton lust (defined as the overwhelming urge to eat Chinese food), there is no remedy more effective, more immediate, more satisfying than a bowl of steaming hot soup, redolent with ginger, and filled with lovely, pillowy dumplings floating here and there.
Alas, I live five miles from the nearest Asian restaurant. Thank goodness for my pantry, and a ready supply of wonton skins in the fridge or freezer.
Wonton skins (also called wonton wrappers) are thin pieces of an egg-based dough, cut into 3-4 inch squares. In the 14-ounce package I keep in my pantry, there are approximately 50 skins. Each square holds one tablespoon of filling.
When I was growing up, I only knew wontons that were cooked in soup, and they were always filled with a mixture of pork, shrimp and scallions. As a non-pork eater, I'd always remove the little blob of filling by cutting around it with my soup spoon, and I'd scoop up the wonton skins with the soup. In the end, the balls of pork filling would be left sitting in the bowl. Now I make my own wontons, filled with chicken or veggies.
Wonton skins are easy to find in almost every supermarket these days; even in my small town, the produce section of the market stocks fresh wonton skins. I'd never bother to make them from scratch, but they are easy to make.
Why not think of wonton skins as big square noodles, an instant fresh pasta dough ready to be turned into ravioli with sweet or savory fillings, asparagus-wonton wraps, crab wontons with Asian slaw, or a beautiful fried wonton appetizer?
You can use wontons as the "icing" on a lovely cupcake, too, which gives wonton lust a whole new meaning.
Wonton skin soup
If, like me, you find yourself eating the wonton noodles and leaving the filling behind, you will love this soup. All wontons, no filling! Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a main dish, or 1 person with a cold or a bad case of wonton lust.
1 quart chicken stock (homemade or low-sodium storebought)
1 nickel-sized slice of fresh gingerroot
1 scallion, white and green parts, sliced thin
4 cups baby spinach leaves
10 wonton skins, cut or torn into strips
Sea salt (if using unsalted homemade stock)
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
In a stock pot, simmer chicken stock with gingerroot for 15 minutes. Remove ginger and discard. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 4-5 minutes, until wonton skins are cooked through. Season with salt, if needed, and lots of black pepper to taste, and serve hot.