Contrary to popular belief, I was not born in the south but in a cold, lovely northern town called Buffalo NY, which is also the birthplace of the legendary Buffalo Wings. They originated at a little place called Anchor Bar and unsurprisingly go well with cold beer and a good game on TV. They also make good use of Louisiana’s famous hot sauces. Traditionally, margarine is the fat in the sauce but I prefer butter for “health” reasons. In this line of thinking, I like to bake my “healthy” version of those famous wings rather than deep-fry them. Fear not, fellow gluttons—I’m including a recipe for an equally unhealthy blue cheese dressing. Enjoy.
FOR THE CHICKEN WINGS
· 3.5 lbs chicken wings (15 whole wings), fresh or thawed
· 1 cup all-purpose flour
· 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
· 1 tablespoon kosher salt
· 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Preheat the oven to 425°. Pat the wings dry with a paper towel and season them with the salt and pepper. Toss them in a bowl with the oil in. Put the flour in a Ziplock bag and put the wings inside, shaking the bag to cover them evenly with the flour. Remove the wings from the bag one-by-one, shaking the excess flour off each one. Put them on a nonstick baking tray or on a regular baking tray with greased aluminum foil, being careful not to crowd them. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn them over and bake for another 20 minutes. Toss the wings gently with the Buffalo sauce and serve with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing.
FOR THE BUFFALO SAUCE
· 9 tablespoons Frank’s RedHot (or other Louisiana hot sauce)
· 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (or margarine)
· 2 teaspoons Tabasco (or Crystal)
· 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar
· 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
· 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
· 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
· 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
While the wings bake, combine all the sauce ingredients in a pan or small pot and bring to a simmer over low heat. Turn off the heat. That’s all. The sauce might seem extremely buttery, which may convince you as to why I baked the wings instead of deep-frying them. This recipe is for a medium level of spiciness. If you prefer mild, remove a few spoons of RedHot and Tabasco accordingly and substitute paprika for the cayenne. If you prefer more heat, add more cayenne.
FOR THE BLUE CHEESE DRESSING
· 3/4 cup sour cream
· 1 1/3 cups mayonnaise
· 4 ounces blue cheese, chopped or crumbled
· 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
· 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
· 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
· 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
· 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Whisk together the sour cream, mayo, and Worcestershire. Mix in the garlic and mustard powders, salt, and pepper. Mix in the blue cheese. (I prefer to preserve the chunks rather than make the dressing completely smooth.)
The dressing actually tastes better after sitting in the fridge for a few hours or even overnight. Also a block of actual blue cheese tastes better than the pre-crumbled pre-packaged variety, trust me.