Wang Off 2010

I was honored to be asked to judge Melissa’s first-annual wing–excuse me, wang–off on Superbowl Sunday. I am not a fan of football, so I was happy to be busied with the food end of the festivities. We ended up with five amazing competitors (Adam Fung is not listed on the flier), and five very different wings. None was classic buffalo-style; each competitor really pushed creativity to its outermost boundaries. And, by the end, I was one happy, though thoroughly challenged, judge (the decision making was brutal).

This is what I had to choose from. Beautiful, right? It was a bit overwhelming at first, but soon, I dug in, armed with my palate cleanser (lemon sorbet) and five score cards.

The first had an amazing crust and savory-sweet sauce. The second also had a wonderful crust, but with a spicy dry rub. Number 3 was the spiciest, no crust, and had a cilantro mayonnaise dipping sauce to go with it. Number four had a sesame twist, with very flavorful meat. Number five had great Indian flavors and a raita to go with it. All were moist. There was no clear one to knock out first. So I had to keep eating.

I had to take many, many bites to be sure.

I looked to the pooches for advice (who were looking at me for some handouts).

Finally, after much deliberation, I chose number 4, the Sesame Stallion. In the end, I felt that the meat itself was the most flavorful in this one. This belonged to Joanna, a first-time wing maker and winner of this (made by Sean):

And here’s the winning recipe:

Sticky Sesame Chicken Wings
From Gourmet magazine, May 2006

  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mild honey
  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 3 lb chicken wingettes or chicken wings (see cooks’ note, below)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1 scallion (green part only), finely chopped

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Line a large shallow baking pan (17 by 12 inches) with foil and lightly oil foil.

Mince garlic and mash to a paste with salt using a large heavy knife. Transfer garlic paste to a large bowl and stir in soy sauce, hoisin, honey, oil, and cayenne. Add wingettes to sauce, stirring to coat.

Arrange wingettes in 1 layer in baking pan and roast, turning over once, until cooked through, about 35 minutes. Transfer wingettes to a large serving bowl and toss with sesame seeds and scallion.

Cooks’ note: If using chicken wings instead of wingettes, cut off and discard tips from chicken wings with kitchen shears or a large heavy knife, then halve wings at joint.

Here's Joanna, the winner, celebrating her victory by eating Doritos.

Close runner up was Char’s entry, which was the first contender with the nice crust and the sweet sauce. Here’s her recipe.

Sweet Japanese Fried Chicken

3 tbsp of Soy Sauce
3 tbsp water
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 cup of White Vinegar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp of Flour (in sauce)
1. pre heat oven to 350
2. dip chicken in egg and flour mixture
3. fry until brown on both sides
4. coat wings w/ sauce in pan, extra sauce can be put in pan as well.
5. place in oven, cook for 40-50 minutes

There's Char to the right, proud of her runner-up status (I'm assuming)

And here are the other two recipes (Adam didn’t send me his), which truly are nothing to shake a stick at.

Melissa’s Spicy Wings with Creamy Cilantro Dipping Sauce
40 chicken wing pieces or 20 whole chicken wings
2 tablespoons Chinese five- spice powder
3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Creamy Cilantro Dipping Sauce, recipe follows
Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F.

If you have whole chicken wings, cut off wingtips and cut the wings in half at the joint. Discard wingtips or freeze to make stock at a later time.

Place the wings in a large bowl. Sprinkle five-spice powder and cayenne on the wings, add a few pinches of salt and about 15 grinds of black pepper. Rub the mixture into all the wings until no more loose rub remains. Wash your hands.

Line the wing pieces up on a baking sheet so the side of the wing that has the most skin is facing up. Roast until cooked through, browned and crispy, about 25 minutes. Serve hot with Creamy Cilantro Dipping Sauce.

Creamy Cilantro Dipping Sauce:
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup yogurt
1/2 lemon, juiced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine ingredients in mixing bowl. Whisk ingredients to incorporate them fully and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Scott’s Crisp Curry Chicken Wings with Coriander Cucumber Sauce

  • 2 pounds chicken wings (about 10)
  • 4 tablespoons curry powder
  • 4 tablespoons Major Grey’s chutney, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • a 5-inch length of seedless cucumber, seeded and chopped fine (about 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh coriander plus coriander sprigs for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Cut off the wing tips, reserving them for another use such as stock if desired, and halve the wings at the joint. In a bowl stir together the curry powder, 2 tablespoons of the chutney, the lemon juice, the salt, and the cayenne, add the wings, and toss them to coat them well. Let the wings marinate, covered and chilled for at least 4 hours or overnight. In a small bowl stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons chutney and the soy sauce. Arrange the wings, marinade discarded, skin side up, on the oil rack of a broiler pan and bake them in a preheated 475°F. oven for 25 minutes. Brush the wings with the soy-sauce mixture and broil them under a preheated broiler about 4 inches from the heat for 1 to 2 minutes, or until they are crisp.

Make the sauce:
In a small bowl stir together the yogurt, the cucumber, the minced coriander, the juice, and salt to taste.

Transfer the wings to a platter, garnish them with the coriander sprigs, and serve them warm or at room temperature with the sauce.

Yay, wings!


About Kate Soto

3 responses to “Wang Off 2010”

  1. Siggy says :

    I’m with Jackson. They all look and sound mighty delicious. I’d eat them all! Go Joanna the winner!!
    Kate is the super taste tester!!

  2. Stina says :

    Holy moley! I might have to try these recipes except with something other than chicken (cat) wings.

  3. Kate Soto says :

    You CAN NOT make these recipes with cat wings, Celeste. Verboten.

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