|Wing magic. With harissa.|
|These are the roasted wings, with nothing on them yet. (Right?)|
There are two secrets, and here they are: salt and time—plenty of both. Basically, you salt the wings heavily and let them sit in the fridge for a couple of hours—ideally overnight or, less ideally, for the 20 minutes it takes your oven to preheat. I usually strike a middle ground in the 4-6 hour range. Then you put the wings in the oven and you leave them there to roast for a full hour, turning them halfway through—but only because you are bored and excited than because they actually need turning. Then you either eat them as is, because they are perfect, or you sauce them in any number of classic or high-end wing-saucing styles. That’s it.
|Are your proud of me for acknowledging the Super Bowl, even just obliquely?|
What happens is this: the salt seasons the meat to the bone, and the long heat renders all of the fat so that a) there is not a speck of flab on the finished wing and b) the wings end up frying in their own melted fat, turning perfectly, magically crisp. It’s a magical kind of one-two—like how, when there’s a Monday holiday, not only do you get the day off, BUT ALSO the week is only four days long. Let me clarify, though: if you prefer wings that you’d more likely describe as “juicy,” where you are happily gnawing flaccid meat laced through with rubbery veins, these are not your wings. But if you like wings where the deeply golden meat pulls clean off the bones in crisp-chewy shreds, then this is your method, trust me.
|BBQ. These are too sweet for me, but they are crowd-pleasers, especially when it comes to the younger set.|
|Although our friend Zaim maturely preferred the harissa ones.|
|Ben and our friend Sahar. Unstill Life with Chicken Wings.|
Chicken Wing Magic
This recipe can be easily multiplied. I usually double it to feed 6 serious wing-eaters with a couple unserious children thrown in the mix.
3 pounds chicken wings
3 teaspoons kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
Line a large rimmed pan with parchment paper (or the wings will stick). Arrange the chicken wings on the pan and salt them, first on one side and then on the other. Use all the salt. Cover the wings and refrigerate them for 4-6 hours (or, more ideally, overnight, or less ideally, for less time). Look at the gross picture down below to see about how spaced out the wings should be; if they're too crowded, they'll do more steaming than frying, so you should spread them onto a second pan.
Take the chicken out of the fridge and start heating your oven to 375. Put the chicken in the oven and roast for an hour until the wings are deeply golden, very crisp and frying in puddles of their own fat. I use small wings, but if yours are larger, they may take 30-45 minutes longer. If they are not browning for some reason, turn your oven up 25 degrees. I flip the wings halfway through the baking, but I think it’s just because I want to interact with them. That’s it. Then you'll sauce and serve, without putting them back in the oven.
Some saucing options. I find that something like ½ cup of whatever will sauce 3 pounds of wings without drowning them—but by all means scale it up, if that’s your thing. Methodwise, what you want to do is put the hot wings in a large lightweight bowl with the sauce of your choosing, so that you can flip them around restaurant style, coating the wings lightly but thoroughly. All of these are good.
- Classic Buffalo. ¼ cup of butter and ¼ cup of Frank’s Original Red Hot, melted together. Serve with blue cheese dressing and celery sticks, if you like. (Edited to add: I now melt the butter in a tiny pot and whisk in 1/2 teaspoon of flour and then the Frank's. It makes a creamier, clingier sauce.)
- BBQ. ½ cup of bottled barbecue sauce. (I know!)
- Harissa. ¼ cup of harissa mixed with the juice of ½ a lemon. Top with cilantro leaves.
- Miso-Citrus. 2 tablespoons of white miso stirred together first with 1 tablespoon of hot water and then with the juice and grated zest of ½ a tangerine or orange. Top with slivered scallions.
- Lime-Butter. ¼ cup melted butter, mixed with the juice and grated zest of 1 lime, 1 clove of minced garlic, a handful of chopped cilantro, salt to taste, and 1 (optional) teaspoon of sugar or honey.
- Chimichurri. ½ cup of finely chopped parsley mixed with ¼ cup each white vinegar and olive oil, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of chopped capers, salt to taste, and an optional whiff of anchovies or fish sauce.
- The Ginger Vinaigrette from here.
(I stuck these two gross pictures down here.)