Listeners of The Splendid Table know that host Lynne Rossetto Kasper has, let's just call it, a passion for all things Italian. But only the most devoted fans of the show know that she got her start teaching not Italian but Chinese cooking.
These Mahogany-Glazed Chicken Wings from the just released The Splendid Table's How to Eat Weekends were surely inspired by this early love for Asian flavors.
Cooking my way through How to Cook Weekends, it's becoming more and more clear that Lynne and her producer Sally Swift not only put out a great radio show but excel in recipe writing. The steps for making these sticky-salty-sweet-and-sour wings are laid out in a manner that's both comprehensive and informative, the sort of recipe that leaves cooks with no lingering questions and a plate of truly spectacular wings.
Beginning with a flavor-packed marinade, these wings are pierced in several places to ensure both crisp skin and meat that's full of big soy-plum-hoisin-garlic flavor. Instead of slow-baking these wings right on the baking sheet, they are placed on a rack, allowing for the skin to bake up to a Peking duck-like sticky crunch.
How to Eat Weekends includes wine pairing notes for many of the recipes in the book, and for these wings, Lynne took the opportunity to highlight her love of Italy by way of suggesting a bottle of Nero d'Avila or Salice Salentino for these wings. The two warm, Southern Italian reds both have the body to stand up to the bold Chinese flavors. And on a another pairing note, I opted to serve mine with some quick pickled bánh mì-style cucumbers with rice wine and sugar, since every good wing deserves a crunchy veggie counterpoint.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Splendid Table's How to Eat Weekends to give away this week.
- ½ cup hoisin sauce
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup Chinese plum sauce
- ¼ cup dry sherry
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- 6 large garlic cloves
- 3¼ to 4 pounds chicken wings, rinsed and pierced in several places with a paring knife
In a blender or food processor, purée the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, plum sauce, sherry, cider vinegar, and garlic. Reserve ¼ cup of the marinade for basting the wings. Combine the remaining mixture with the chicken wings in large plastic bags and refrigerate for 12 to 48 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Line a large shallow baking pan (a half-sheet pan is ideal) with foil. Set a large cake rack inside the pan. Arrange the wings on the rack, trying not to stack them so they can all caramelize evenly.
Roast the chicken for 1¼ to 1½ hours, turning the wings often and basting them with the reserved marinade until the last 30 minutes of cooking. Halfway through the roasting, pierce each wing several times with a knife to release some of its fat and help it crisp. The wings are cooked when they are easily pierced with a knife. If in doubt, roast longer.
Give the wings a final crisping by raising the heat to 450ºF. for 15 to 20 minutes, turning them so they are a rich red-brown on all sides. Pile the wings on a platter and serve warm or at room temperature.