What is it about wings? They have become so popular that I wouldn’t be surprised if some scientist is at work trying to figure out how to come up with a chicken that has four wings. It’s no surprise people love them — they’re fun, fast and qualify as finger food.
But not all wings are created equal. I have had Chicken wings that were so scrawny I figured they might have come from a pigeon. I have even had wings that didn’t even taste like chicken. And I have had chicken wings that were so lacking in flavor it was an insult to the name, let alone the chicken.
Here are some of the basic facts: The secret is in the sauce (s). But I figured you already knew that, or you would simply be serving fried chicken wings. The ingredients? The chicken wings, of course. And the rest: hot pepper sauce, white vinegar, butter and salt. The level of heat is determined by the amount of hot pepper sauce used. Flour and cayenne pepper are also basic ingredients for consideration. For me personally, I like to add a bit of garlic (or garlic powder) and to play around with flavors.
That said, sometimes basic is best. Here’s a simple recipe that’s sure to please.
Yield: 24 wings, or about 3-4 servings (scale up in direct proportion)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup vinegar-based hot sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper
12 whole meaty chicken wings (chop off the tips and discard.
Cut each wing in half at the joint)
This is basically a five-step process.
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients – flour, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt.
2. In a sauce pan, melt the butter, hot sauce and the black pepper. Keep the sauce warm.
3. Toss the wings in the flour mixture to coat.
4. Deep fry the wings (375 F for 10 -12 minutes should do it) and drain.
5. Toss the fried wings in the hot sauce to coat.
That’s it. Simple. Now serve the wings with a dipping sauce on the side (blue cheese sauce or dressing and celery sticks are standard).
Quick `n’ Easy Blue Cheese Dressing
Combine 8 ounces of a softened blue-veined cheese with ½ cup sour cream and ½ cup heavy whipping cream. Use a fork to mash the blue cheese as you add the sour cream and whipping cream to combine. Whip it up to smooth it out. If you want to zip the dressing up a bit add some cayenne pepper.
Chicken Wing Pizza
This is such a good-tasting pizza you will wonder why you never thought of it before.
Makes one 14-inch pizza (scale up in direct proportion)
Make the chicken wings, following the basic recipe, through Step 5.
Pull the meat off the bones (you will need about 10-12 ounces of meat). Combine pizza sauce with Louisiana hot sauce (adjust heat to taste). Spread (lightly) the sauce over the crust.
Add the pulled chicken wing meat to the pizza, spreading it evenly.
Top the pizza with shredded mozzarella and blue cheese (to taste, but I use a ratio of 2/3 mozzarella to 1/3 blue cheese). Bake and serve.
Alternatively, for this pizza, instead of combining the mozzarella with the blue cheese, just go with the mozzarella. After the pizza is baked, and just before serving, drop dollops of the blue cheese dressing (see recipe above) on top of the melted mozzarella. And if you want to get really fancy you can garnish the pizza with celery sticks.
Are wings simple?
Yes. But what should you watch out for? What little problems could cause your wings to crash instead of fly high?
Problem: If the wings are moist or too wet (say the wings came in frozen and were holding a lot of moisture) the flour mixture will not adhere properly and your wings will have a gummy taste. Not good.
Solution: Lay the wings on a sheet pan and pat them dry with a paper towel. Turn them over and pat dry again. And then again.
Problem: If the wings come in frozen and you have not fully defrosted them, you will not only have the moisture problem, but you will have a longer cook time to get them fully cooked — which might result in a burned look on the outside and uncooked inside.
Solution: Lay the wings on a full sheet pan to defrost for 1-2 days in the cooler. Pat the wings dry of any excess moisture.
Problem: You don’t have a deep fryer.
Solution: Bake the wings. Toss the wings in a combination of cooking oil and cayenne pepper (to taste). Lay the wings on a full sheet pan and bake at 425 F for 20-25 minutes. While the wings are still warm, toss them with a combination of white vinegar and hot sauce. Serve with blue cheese dressing and celery sticks.