This is one of the more addictive recipes in my arsenal. I found the base recipe a few years ago in a gourmet cooking magazine, and decided to give it a go. Who knew “gourmet” could be this easy, and this… well, nifty?
First, start with 20 chickens.
(Just kidding. Buy wings at the store. I’m not that pioneer about things.)
Preheat the oven to 500*.
These roast at Five Hundred Degrees. Trust me. I didn’t believe it at first, either, but life is a lot better when you exercise a little bit of faith and just go with it.
(Also, please give me credit. I didn’t write “just wing it” right there, and it nearly killed me to not use the pun. Besides, you’re not winging it. You’re trusting me. So really, set that oven to 500*.)
Toss 4 pounds wing pieces with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoons each salt and black pepper.
Arrange the wing pieces on two large, rimmed baking sheets. Roast in that 500* oven for about 35 minutes, until the wings are really golden and crisp.
When the wings have been in for about 20 minutes, start reducing the glaze. Stir in a small saucepan, letting it boil and reduce to about 1/3 cup:
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar (and the cheap stuff works just fine for this!)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar, or 1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic (or a dash of garlic powder. Dang, my working class roots are showing.)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (fresh is best; omit if you don’t like ginger. I won’t gripe. I rebel against recipes all the time.)
Let these boil down, as I mentioned. Be sure to avoid putting your face over the saucepot. This is boiling vinegar. It stings a bit if you snork it up your sinuses.
When it has reduced to a gooey, coats-the-spoon consistency, take it off the heat and stir in about a tablespoon of butter.
By now, the wings are roasted and glorious. Let the pans stand about 3-5 minutes before you try to loosen the wings at all. (I admit it… I move just one wing piece immediately, so I can amuse myself for the remaining four minutes and 45 seconds by picking the tasty bits off the pan where it stuck hopelessly.)
Move the wings to a mixing bowl, and drizzle the glaze over them. Toss around a bit to coat, and let them stand a few more minutes before tossing again. The crisp chicken skin soaks up the tangy glaze, and takes on a gorgeous mahogany color.
Return the wings to the turned-off oven to keep warm and re-crisp a tad before serving.
Be sure to serve them alongside some damp towels or cloth napkins that you don’t mind being stained forever. They’re messy, unless you’re not to particular about licking fingers in public. Paper napkins are less useful, as the paper bits stick, and who wants to lick sticky, papery fingers in public?
If (and that’s a big longshot if) there are any leftovers, they nuke well for breakfast the next morning.
What… other people don’t eat balsamic chicken wings nuked for breakfast?