I feel like I’m on the verge of another “chef crush”.
First there was Thomas Keller, the super talented and famous chef behind “The French Laundry”, “Per Se”, “Bouchon Bakery” and “Ad Hoc”. Over the years I’ve cooked and shared a number of his recipes here, and each has been the perfect expression of what the dish should be. From quiches, to brownies, to fried chicken, a Keller recipe never disappoints.
So who is the subject of my new “chef crush” you ask?
It’s Michael Symon, the Food Network TV celeb, and the chef behind the restaurants “Lola Bistro”, “Lolita”, and “B Spot Burgers”. This is the second of Michael’s recipes I’ve cooked, the first being his “Pork and Black-Eyed Pea Chili” (which was just awesome), and I’m here to tell you that with this recipe he strikes gold again. These are hands-down the best hot wings I’ve ever had or made, and I’ve had and made A LOT of them over the years. I found this recipe over at one of my favorite food sites, Leite’s Culinaria, while perusing for party fare…such a happy find.
What makes these so special? The magic starts with marinating the chicken in a spice rub of crushed coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon and salt. Then there is a a 2-step cooking process of baking to gently cook the meat, then a quick fry to crisp up the skin. Finally of course, there is the sauce. Unlike most hot wing sauces which primarily consist of a plain bottled hot sauce and melted butter, Michael calls for using sriracha (which has a much more complex flavor profile than most bottled hot sauces), fresh lime, and cilantro to deliver a sauce with such a great depth of flavor you will immediately start to ponder how you can use the sauce in other dishes you make.
These are not searing hot, light your mouth on-fire wings. Their heat, while considerable, is more nuanced and slowly builds at the back of your throat until you find yourself reaching for that cold beer with greater frequency. These will knock your socks (or flip-flops) off, so DO give them a try the next time you’ve got wing lovers at your table….you’ll be their hero.
Cheers – Steve
Please visit Leite’s Culinaria for a printable version of the recipe.