BUFFALO WINGS WITH BLUE CHEESE DIP
I know what you’re thinking — two recipes for chicken wings in three posts? It might be a bit excessive, but the fact of the matter is, I can’t get enough of them. I love wings, my friends love wings and if the rising price of chicken wings counts for anything, so does the rest of America. So, for all my readers who might not might not be into the fish sauce or sweet chili-glazed variety, I’m here to offer you a recipe and proper technique for the classic New York-style buffalo wing.
I grew up eating hot wings from a local Bay Area chain called Original Buffalo Wings. On the nights we were lucky enough to call them dinner, my Mom would order up a “double dozen” along with a bag of fresh fried potato chips and an extra side of blue cheese dip for the crispy (albeit anemic) celery sticks. Bathed in a velvety, vinegary coating of hot sauce, the wings always remained crisp — a textual enigma which I long considered a well-kept secret of the buffalo wing trade. Having made these a handful of times now, I can tell you that there are actually few secrets to a great wing. Just get a hold of some fresh, meaty chicken wings, dry them well to promote even browning, fry them in small batches, toss them with Frank’s RedHot sauce and a bit of margarine (gasp!) and you’ll be left with the the quintessential, finger-lickin’ good buffalo wing.
Getting the wings as dry as possible before frying them is a crucial step in achieving a crispy, golden brown wing. As always, fry the wings in batches that will not overwhelm the pot and drop your oil temperature too dramatically. In fact, I’ll sometimes allow the oil to exceed 350° in anticipation of drop of 20-30 degrees. This recipe calls for the use of margarine, an ingredient that I rarely, if ever, use in my cooking. I’ve tried making them with butter and they simply just don’t turn out the same. If you are dead-set against using margarine, consider using clarified butter — the absence of the milk solids and water should allow the hot sauce to easily emulsify. When you are ready to toss the wings with the buffalo sauce, make sure to give it another good whisk as it tends to separate a bit while it sits. Any hot sauce will do in this recipe, but the wings you’ve eaten in restaurants were probably made using Frank’s. If you like your wings really hot, simply adjust the ratio of hot sauce to margarine.
- Peanut, canola, grapeseed or vegetable oil for Frying
- 2 pounds chicken wings (about 20), separated at the joint, wingtips removed
- 6 tablespoons margarine
- 1/2 cup Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce (plus more to taste)
- 3 ribs of celery, sliced into 3-inch lengths
- 3/4 cup blue cheese dip (recipe follows)
- Preheat oven to 200° F. Pour oil into a heavy medium pot until it reaches a depth of 2-inches. Heat oil over medium heat until it reaches 350° F on a candy thermometer.
- Meanwhile, dry the wings thoroughly on paper towels to remove all residual moisture. Working in batches, fry the wings until they are golden brown and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Be sure to stir the wings occasionally to prevent them from sticking together. Transfer the cooked wings to a wire rack set over a paper towel-lined baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven. Repeat frying procedure with the remaining wings.
- Make the sauce by melting the margarine in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the hot sauce and whisk to combine.
- When you are ready to serve, transfer the chicken wings to a large bowl, pour over the hot sauce mixture and toss until they are thoroughly coated. Serve immediately with celery stick and blue cheese dip.
Makes 20 Wings
BLUE CHEESE DIP
You can think of this dip as a slightly thicker version of blue cheese dressing. If you don’t have chives, use green onions. Feel free to adjust the amount of sour cream and heavy cream to reach a consistency that fits your own personal taste. If you have the time, make this earlier in the day and place it in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to come together. Serve cold or at room temperature.
- 1/4 pound Danish blue cheese, crumbled
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Hot sauce to taste
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons minced chives
- Combine the blue cheese, heavy cream and lemon juice in a small bowl.
- Add sour cream 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking to combine.
- Add in the Worcestershire and hot sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Fold in minced chives and let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.