Wontons: Just as many options for filling as cooking

Associated Press photo by Matthew Mead

There's nothing wrong with showing a bit of skin. Especially if it's steamy.

Wonton skins (or wonton wrappers) are thin sheets of dough made from flour, egg and water. The same basic formula as Asian egg noodles, and Italian pasta, except wonton skins are cut into round and square sheets.

Because wonton skins essentially are for containing other ingredients, their strength is their versatility.

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They can be filled with just about anything, from ground or chopped meat and vegetables, to cheese and sweet fillings. They can be cooked any number of ways - pan-fried, deep-fried, baked, steamed, even boiled. You also can cook them before you fill them.

For an easy party (or kid-friendly) food, coat a mini-muffin tin with cooking spray. Line each cup with a wrapper, spritz with more cooking spray, then bake at 375 degrees for about eight minutes or until the wrappers are lightly browned and crisp. Once cooled, the wonton cups can be filled with whatever nibbles you like.

You'll find wontons in virtually every grocer, usually in the produce section next to the tofu and other Asian ingredients. They are available in a variety of sizes, though 3-inch squares tend to be the most versatile. Larger sizes can be unwieldy once filled.

To make dumplings, they need to be sealed shut after being filled. Fold the edges over onto themselves; gather the edges together over the center (like a purse); or place a second wrapper over the first.

Lightly wet (dunking your fingers in water ) the edges of the wrapper to glue them shut.

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