Greg Baxtrom is the man behind Olmsted, a restaurant in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Prospect Heights. I stayed in the borough, though I went a few neighborhoods away, to Fort Greene, and to an artist who is deeply identified with the borough, Mos Def. When you pick a Mos Def song, you’re picking something that’s socially aware, brilliantly analytical, and also organized for maximum potency: sort of like good food. I sent Greg “Climb,” a beautiful and abstract song about ambition, aspiration, loneliness, and community.
This dish has the fine-dining background of Greg’s culinary history with the accessibility of a crowd-pleasing dish for your potluck. For extra credit, grow your own kale. Do yourself a favor and head to your local grocery store for sweet & sour sauce!
1 tablespoon neutral oil, such as grapeseed
1 bunch kale, ribs removed, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 cup (135 g) cooked crabmeat
1 cup (245 g) ricotta cheese
1 package store-bought wonton wrappers (at least 30 wrappers)
2 quarts (2 L) neutral oil, such as canola or vegetable, for frying
Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the kale and season with salt. Cook until tender but still bright green, about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the kale out into a large bowl to cool slightly. Then add the crab and ricotta. Season again to taste.
Lay out 10 wonton wrappers and distribute about 1 teaspoon of filling per wrapper. It’s tempting to add more, but by doing so you risk your rangoon exploding during the cooking process.
Fill a small bowl with water, dip your fingers in the water, and then trace the border of the first wrapper. Bring all four corners of the wrapper to a point in the center, pressing to seal, and then follow the seams down toward the filling, pressing and sealing as you work. Dip your fingers in the water again and repeat the sealing process with the remaining wrappers. Set the completed rangoon aside as you work and repeat the process once more with the remaining wrappers.
Heat 2 quarts of oil over medium heat in a high-sided pot or Dutch oven. Bring the oil to 350°F (175°C). Working 4 to 5 at a time, fry in batches for about 3 minutes, until light golden in color. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove rangoon from the fry oil and let drain on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat the frying process. Serve with sweet and sour sauce.
Recipe from Mixtape Potluck by Questlove © 2019 Ahmir Khalib Thompson. Recipe courtesy of Greg Baxtrom. Published by Abrams Image.
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