18.9.08

B(egg)er and better?

I suppose in all of my excitement describing the beauteous and varied uses of wonton wrappers, I completely ignored their big brother, egg roll wrappers. And that's literally what they are: bigger wonton wrappers. There is no more fat, calories or sodium or any less fiber (per ounce). They are just like a wonton wrapper, but probably at least twice as large in area (although I haven't measured). So if you're nervous about using wonton wrappers because you think they're too small, too fragile or too tedious, you have no excuses with egg roll wrappers – they're even nearly always sitting right next to the wonton wrappers in your grocery store.

There is definitely more room for error with egg roll wrappers if you were trying to make ravioli or pot stickers with the wonton wrappers. You can make really huge ones or you can make regular sized ones and cut off the excess wrapper once you've closed it. This may seem like remedial wrapper-closing, but it works, and if you're unwilling to try wontons out of fear, you absolutely should employ this method. Use the scraps to make noodles, chips (or even soup base) just as you saw in the wonton post.

But I'm not going to leave you thinking that this increase in area can't be taken advantage of. Julia made spinach and kalamata cannelloni using unprepared egg roll wrappers as noodles, and let me tell you, it was the lightest and crispiest cannelloni I've ever had. She simply made rollups out of the wrappers (no closing required!) with her filling and laid them in a glass baking dish, covered with tomato sauce, a sprinkling of cheese and more kalamatas. It had to be one of the easier and healthier cannellonis I have ever tasted (but that's probably mostly because the rolls weren't filled with ricotta.

Or how about empanadas? Yes, those crispy and delicious Latin staple foods full of meat and cheese can be made with egg roll wrappers. Just fill them and close like they were extra large dumplings and either pan fry on each side for several minutes until they're golden brown, or bake in the oven on 400 degrees for 18-22 minutes. They’ll still end up pretty crispy this way too. We tried an Asian-themed empanada in the oven, where we employed that exact method, but filled it with a mixture of shredded Chinese cabbage, red bell peppers, mushrooms, ginger, jalapeño, sesame seeds, sesame oil and a little lite soy sauce. They tasted awesome – like huge, crispy dumplings, even though we baked them in the oven with a little extra virgin olive brushed and sea salt sprinkled on top.

So whether you’re still afraid of wonton wrappers or whether you’ve mastered them and are ready for something else, the egg roll wrapper’s versatility should work to help you expand your kitchen possibilities either way. And that makes them worth a top endorsement for all!

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