Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine hot stuff: Wings of desire

Valentine's dinner at my house is all about doing what my guys want. I wouldn't want crispy, succulent chicken wings, no sirree.

All right, all right - I've been panting to try the recipe for Honey-Sriracha Glazed Buffalo Wings ever since Randy Clemens' "The Sriracha Cookbook" crossed my desk last month. A whole cookbook using the fabled Thai "rooster" chili sauce? I'm there.

My husband and son are both wing men, and the husband has been on a search for wings that are saucy yet crispy. So I messed around some with the order of things in the recipe. For some, I fried, then dipped in sauce, then put in the oven to stay warm and dipped again. For some, I fried, ovened and dipped. Personally, I liked the first option, which got a darker glaze. The husband thought they were too dark and preferred the second option. The son's opinion was impossible to determine through the smacking and growling.

Here's the recipe, along with the optional SriRANCHa Dipping Sauce. It was a simple Saturday night Valentine's dinner, but my husband had also willingly spent half a day at IKEA with me. Frying up some stupendous wings was the least I could do.

Honey-Sriracha Glazed Buffalo Wings

Vegetable or peanut oil for glazing

4 pounds chicken wings (I'd suggest cutting them into flappers and drummettes and discarding wing tips)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

2/3 Sriracha

1/2 cup orange blossom honey

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Juice of 1 lime

Chopped fresh cilantro and white sesame seeds for garnish; optional

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Pour oil 2 to 3 inches deep in a heavy, stable container suitable for deep-frying (personally, I use a flat-bottomed wok). Heat the oil to 350 degrees.

Fry the wings in batches for 10 to 12 minutes, turning once, until crispy and golden-brown. Be careful not to crowd the pan, which will lower the temperature of the oil.

Place a rack over a baking sheet and keep in the oven. Place wings on the rack as they come out and place in the oven to keep warm. (Deep them in the sauce first if you want.)

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat while the wings are frying. Add the Sriracha, honey, salt and lime juice, stirring to combine. Keep warm over low heat. Dip the wings after frying, or add all the fried wings to the sauce and stir to coat. Spread on a platter and sprinkle with cilantro and sesame seeds if desired. Serve hot with plenty of napkins and either blue cheese dressing or SriRANCHa Dressing.

SriRANCHa Dressing

3/4 prepared Ranch dressing (or make your own, see note below)

1/4 cup Sriracha sauce

Combine and serve.

Or make Ranch dressing: Combine 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup buttermilk, 1/4 cup Sriracha, 1 teaspoon freshly squeeze lemon juice, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley, 1 tablespoon chopped chives, 1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried dill, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.