See, here’s the deal; we like chicken wings (BWW is one of Rich’s favorite spots for lunch), we’re just not big fans of the fussy part o’ the wing – preferring (given the choice) the wee, tiny, cute and tasty drumettes. Our markets seem to run out of these little delicacies quickly, or, if they do have a batch, they tend to be heckishly pricey – so we’ve moved on to the super-sized option in wings – the chicken leg.
Our local Woodman’s had a deal on organic chicken legs, no water, chemicals or other stuff added (the whole batch in the pan ran around $4!), so we decided to have a Buffalo feast.
I prefer not to fry my Buffalo wings (er, legs) – it seems to me that any recipe that starts off with a stick of melted butter can do without the additional courtesy detail of immersion in boiling hot fat – so I bake instead. The method I learned from friends in California was to dredge the chicken in seasoned flour, then an egg/milk wash and then in bread crumbs. Place the coated wings in a baking pan, pour the butter and hot sauce mixture over all and bake. Good. Still, the flouring, dredging, dipping and rolling is a bit fussy; and again – melted stick o’ butter folks – do we really need to add flour, egg and breading on top of (well – really kind of in the middle) it all? I think not.
The contessa agrees, and offered this recipe. Good. The only change I will make next time will be to adjust the amount of hot sauce up – rather significantly, I think. 1 tsp of Tabasco Chipotle was tasty to us, but a bit short of our preferred Buffalo item-of-your-choice heat and vinegar mix (come to think of it, my original recipe proportions were something like 1 stick of melted butter to 1 BOTTLE of Crystal hot sauce – so we most certainly have some room to play here).
•16 chicken wings (about 3 pounds)
•1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
•1 tsp cayenne pepper
•4 tsp Frank’s Hot Sauce, or 1 tsp Tabasco (as I noted – I used Tabasco Chipotle, and think that I could easily have trebled the quantity – even taking the cayenne into consideration)
•1 tsp kosher salt – I used my trusty French coarse sea salt
Dipping Sauce (see my note below):
•1-1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola or other blue cheese
•1 cup good mayonnaise
•3/4 cup sour cream
•2 tbsp milk
•3/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
•1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
•3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Celery sticks, for serving
Preheat the broiler. Cut the chicken wings in thirds, cutting between the bones. Discard the wing tips – OR – just save yourself the bother and heartache and go for the drumsticks. I should also not that I baked ours at 350º for 45 minutes or so instead of doing the whole broiling thing – I am not a fan of the broiler in my oven.
Put the wings on a sheet pan and brush them with the melted butter. Broil them about 3 inches below the heat for 8 minutes. Turn the wings, brush them again with the butter, and broil for 4 more minutes or until cooked.
For the sauce, place the blue cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, milk, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until almost smooth.
Serve the chicken hot or at room temperature with the blue cheese dip and celery sticks.
A note on the dipping sauce. I didn’t make it. I have little doubt the contessa makes a fine blue cheese sauce and all that, but imma tell you – buy a jar of Marie’s and call it a day. Do not think you’re going to be all save-y and all and buy some other less expensive bottle of blue cheese dressing either. Stick with Marie’s. You won’t regret it. In some small way, to me, the chicken in this case is just a delivery system for the Marie’s.
That is all.