Chicken Wings…so good, so versatile, so many ways to cook them. Wings are my favorite part of the bird for a few reasons with flavor being the most important one. Because of their compact side and the phenomenal ratio of skin to meat all that good stuff that bakes or fries on top of the wings you get in every single bite. Apologies to the breast, legs and thighs, they all have more meat and less skin, a wing guarantees you that prize each time to reach the wing to your mouth. Delicious! Chicken skin, while it’s not for eating every day certainly contains whatever it is that makes things taste good (i’m sure it’s the fat content, let’s be honest) so for those who are careful with their fat intake make this an occasional treat. Skinless or boneless wings…no interest..they are silly. I’ll stick with boneless thigh or breast if that’s the road I’m taking. Wings need bones and skin, the whole package is what makes them rarely a dry piece of meat, unless they are way overcooked or as old as your collection of 80’s cassette tapes. The meat, let’s talk about it..it’s not really all white meat, and it’s not really dark meat…hence it’s that perfect balance of both. Self basting I may add because it’s not all white meat and those bones add moisture and flavor. This is not my only wing recipe but it’s one of my favorites, especially for a crowd. Vinegar is one of my preferred condiments/ingredients in much of my cooking. Blame my southern Italian genes as chicken baked with vinegar, olive oil, garlic and herbs is a mainstay of that cuisine. I grew up on that and Mom applied that vinegar and oil approach to her grilled wings as well. She’d either pour her own over the chicken or a bottle of Italian Salad Dressing, however when we would grill the bottled ones they always scorched quicker than her own mix. Why? The reason why processed foods contribute to all that’s wrong with our eating, there’s sugar or corn syrup in many of those bottled dressings. I’m not anti sugar, i have a sweet tooth but long ago I guess I realized that adding sugary ingredients is not really necessary. Certainly there are great wing recipes with sugar glazes in them, however this isn’t one of them. That’s achieved without using a bottle of processed salad dressing. Let’s have some fun with acid and aromatics and let this chicken sing.
SERVES: 6 TIME: 1 hour cooking, 6 hours marinading
36 WING PIECES (SEPARATED)FIND WINGS ON THE LARGER SIDE, THE SMALLER ONES REALLY SHRINK DOWN
1/2 CUP WHITE BALSAMIC VINEGAR, OR APPLE CIDER VINEGAR,plus more for seasoning while cooking.
1 TSP. BELL’S SEASONING OR 1/2 TSP GROUND THYME AND 1/2 TSP GROUND SAGE
1/8 CUP OLIVE OIL, PLUS EXTRA FOR DRIZZLING
1 TSP. KOSHER SALT, plus more for seasoning for cooking
4 GARLIC CLOVES
1 TSP. PAPRIKA, plus more for seasoning while cooking.
1/4 TSP. BLACK PEPPER, plus more for seasoning while cooking.
GRANULATED GARLIC (IT’S BETTER THAN POWDER BECAUSE IT’S JUST GARLIC)
In a food processor add all the ingredients except the chicken (lol.please don’t process them!!) and the granulated garlic. Blend them so the garlic has become sort of a paste. Make sure the chicken wings are dry, then add them to a LARGE bowl and pour the marinade over them. Toss till they are all coated. Cover with plastic wrap tightly and place in the fridge. After 3 hours, turn then so the wings on the bottom move up to the top. Re-cover for an additional 3 hours, OR overnight. Chicken loves marinade, the longer the better.
If you want a smoky flavor to the wings that wonder spice from Spain, PIMENTON, Smoked Spanish Paprika can be used in place of the sweet paprika. I like the sweet Paprika from Hungary. It also comes in Hot as well. If going the Hot Paprika route use 1/2 sweet, and 1/2 hot.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil (or not, up to you but the clean up is easier with the foil liner). remove the wings from the bowl and let them drain for 10 minutes on racks. Line them up on the pan or in two pans and then give them a good sprinkle of more salt, pepper, and the granulated garlic. Drizzle with olive oil (drizzle, not drown) then sprinkle of more vinegar. Then another dusting of Paprika. Place into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove them, turn the wings and season again with the salt, pepper, paprika, granulated garlic. Let them cook another 15 minutes, Remove, flip the wings to the top side up again and bake for 5 minutes more. At the end of this process they will look like this: Resist the temptation to have one. Part of good cooking is having patience and the chicken actually will taste better as it cools down. Plus you will not accidentally rip the lining of the roof of your mouth out. Let them rest. Serve 10 minutes out of the oven. (have you ever really held anything that was 425 degrees in your hand without some severe discomfort?? you need those fingers to eat these delicious treats!!)
NOTE!!: ALL OVENS ARE DIFFERENT. WHAT IS WORKING IN MINE MIGHT BE SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT THAN YOURS. DO NOT MAKE THE FOLLOW THE RECIPE MISTAKE OF NOT USING YOUR SENSE OF SIGHT AS AN IMPORTANT COOKING TOOL/GAUGE. IF THEY ARE BROWNING TOO QUICKLY, LOWER THE OVEN A BIT…IF THEY ARE COOKING FAST IN ONE SPOT ROTATE THE PAN…IF THEY ARE LOOKING DONE BEFORE THE RECIPE TIME SAYS SIMPLY TEST ONE.
America, thanks to our corporate Restaurant mentality insists on pairing everything with a dipping sauce. These do not need a dipping sauce but if you are not happy with the prospect of a wing with no sauce to dip, whisk some olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and fresh garlic together and dip it in that. No bleu cheese dressing on this wing.
There it is. Vinegar and Garlic wings. Baked, That accumulated pan juice you can either hoard for yourself with massive amounts of bread to dip into it…or platter the wings and pour the jus over them. Make sure there are plenty of napkins!!