Chicken wings are a favorite finger-food to munch on while watching TV.
By FAYE LEVY
Chicken wings are a favorite finger-food to munch on while watching TV, and appear in the appetizer section of many casual restaurant menus. Dubbed "America's favorite snack" by Debbie Moose, author of Wings, they have become associated with a popular pastime - watching sports events with friends at home or at sports bars. "Today," wrote Moose, "wherever you find fans gathered together, you will find a plate of wings nearby, ready to sustain them on the path to glory." The reason they are so loved? "They pack more tender flavor into a smaller package than almost any other food," she wrote.
In a historical note, Moose traced the origin of the best-loved American wing recipe, spicy Buffalo wings, deep fried and doused with plenty of hot pepper sauce: "It was a great day in snacking history when the Buffalo wing was invented at Buffalo, New York's Anchor Bar. Until that fateful day, those caught up in passion for their sport had to make do with boring chips and dip or stale pretzels."
Of course, there are other ways to enjoy chicken wings. They are good as hors d'oeuvres at parties or as hearty appetizers for lunch or dinner.
Moose prepares them deep-fried, roasted and grilled, in a variety of flavors. She uses cola drink mixed with orange juice to marinate them, or opts for a teriyaki-like mixture of lemon juice, soy sauce, sugar and garlic powder. Another batch of wings is accented with instant coffee mixed with sugar and black pepper steak seasoning. Moose rolls wings before baking in equal parts of mustard and honey, then in chopped pecans, or roasts them in barbecue sauce.
To make classic Buffalo wings, she dips them in spiced flour, deep fries them, then coats them with a sauce of melted butter and vinegar-based hot sauce. (For a kosher version, this sauce would be made with margarine.) To make the fiery "hands-down best chicken wings," she lets them sit in hot pepper sauce (a 170-gram bottle for 900 grams of wings), then grills them and sprinkles them with salt.
Of course, Americans are not the only chicken wing lovers. Fried chicken wings appear often on Thai menus, and usually they are stuffed. To make them, Jennifer Brennan, author of The Original Thai Cookbook, bones the wings and stuffs them with ground meat flavored with garlic, coriander, fish sauce and green onions. After dipping them in rice flour and beaten egg, she deep fries them, and serves them with very hot chili sauce for dipping.
A Taiwan-born cook taught longtime New York Times food editor Craig Claiborne, author of Craig Claiborne's Favorites from The New York Times, to make sesame chicken wing appetizers. He stir-fried the wings with ginger and garlic, and then cooked them with soy sauce, dry sherry, salted black beans and pepper. Toasted sesame seeds and chopped green onions provided the finishing touch for this savory Chinese starter.
ORANGE ROASTED DRUMMETTES
A drummette is the part of the wing that looks like a miniature drumstick, but you can use both parts of the wing in this dish if you prefer; save the small wing tips in a bag in the freezer for making chicken stock.
This recipe is from an Israeli friend, Bruria Hadad. The savory chicken glazed with orange juice, honey and garlic has a delicate sweet-and-sour flavor with a hint of spiciness.
Honey and garlic tend to burn, so it's best to roast the wings covered. At the end of the roasting time, the dish is uncovered to brown them. To help the wings brown, use a roasting pan in which they are not crowded, so that once uncovered, they roast and do not steam.
550 gr, to 600 gr. chicken wing drummettes
1â„4 tsp. salt
1â„3 cup strained fresh orange juice
1â„2 tsp. paprika
1â„4 tsp. hot red pepper flakes or a few shakes
cayenne, or more to taste
1â„4 tsp. turmeric
1 Tbsp. liquid honey
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
1 tsp. strained fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 175Âº. Sprinkle chicken with salt. Mix all remaining ingredients and toss with chicken in a 25-cm. x 38-cm. roasting pan. Place pieces so they don't touch each other. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover, baste and bake 20 to 25 more minutes, turning chicken twice and basting, or until chicken is tender, golden brown on the outside and no longer pink inside; cut in thickest part to check. Most of juices should have evaporated. During last 5 minutes, shake pan a few times so juices don't burn. Serve hot.
Makes 4 to 6 appetizer servings.
BROILED CHICKEN WINGS WITH GINGER AND PLUM SAUCE
If you taste the marinade for these Chinese-seasoned wings on its own, it will seem very pungent from the soy sauce and sherry, but it seasons the wings perfectly and gives them an appetizing brown color. I like to add Chinese plum sauce to the marinade as it adds both sweetness and a touch of spice, but if you don't have it, you can use plum jelly, apricot jam or honey.
See Note about broiling at end of recipe.
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. finely minced fresh ginger
3 to 4 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. bottled plum sauce, sometimes called
1 tsp. dry sherry
1â„4 tsp. ground white pepper, or to taste
1 tsp. vegetable oil
10 chicken wings, wings tips removed
Mix garlic with ginger, soy sauce, plum sauce, sherry, pepper and oil. Rub wings all over with mixture, put in a shallow dish such as a gratin dish, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes to 2 hours, turning once or twice.
Preheat broiler with rack 10 cm. from flame. Tuck wing tips underneath so wings lie flat. Put wings on broiler rack, discarding marinade remaining in dish. Broil 15 minutes. Turn wings over and broil 10 more minutes or until meat is no longer pink; cut in thickest part to check. Serve hot.
Makes 5 appetizer or 2 or 3 main course servings.
Note: During broiling, check often to be wings are not starting to burn. If they are browning too fast and you feel they may become too charred before they finish cooking, move them further from the heat; if this is not practical, remove them from broiler and continue roasting them at 230Âº until they test done.
Faye Levy is the author of Faye Levy's International Chicken Cookbook.
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