Lifestyle & Culture

Kitchen Detail: (Not) Buffalo Wings


By Nancy Pollard

After owning one of the best cooking stores in the US for 47 years—La Cuisine: The Cook’s Resource in Alexandria, Virginia—Nancy Pollard writes Kitchen Detail, a blog about food in all its aspects—recipes, film, books, travel, superior sources, and food-related issues.

HAVING GRAZED on mediocre to terrible Buffalo Wings in several eateries, but still kind of liking the idea, the football fan in the family asked if we could do them at home. After several tries I found a good recipe in a 1999 Gourmet Magazine, which we ate on special TV-watching tables made for such occasions. (We’re not big television consumers, but I don’t keep the little folding tables in the closet the way my parents did.)

We never did understand the role played by sticks of celery and carrots as buffalo wing accessories, so we always skipped that. We also preferred the Cholula Hot Sauce to Frank’s. The Blue Cheese Sauce, we altered slightly (to make a Roquefort Cheese Sauce) so that it is 1/3 cup decentRuthies All Day Diner chicken wings US restaurant publication mayonaise, 1/3 cup full-fat yogurt and 1/3 cup Roquefort cheese. Milder blue cheese such as a Gorgonzola Dolce  or Danish Blue just did not give enough of a counterpoint to the spicy wings. Depending on the type of Roquefort, I may add more Roquefort crumbles to the top of the dip the way they do at Ruthie’s All Day Diner. This sauce is one of the few times I don’t bother to make my own mayonnaise. Leftover sauce makes a nice base for a salad dressing too—just add a bit of White Champagne Vinegar (Martin Pouret is my favorite) and a bit of olive oil. Honestly, the grilling or frying and then deep-frying chicken wings was kind of labor-intensive for the return on investment.


Heart Of the Artichoke Book coverAnd then one day, the in-house chicken wing researcher found this wonderful alternative recipe in David Tanis’s cookbook, Heart of the Artichoke, and with a couple of modest changes, we eat this at least once a month as midweek dinner. We kept our version of the Blue Cheese Sauce. Clipping off the wing tips and dividing the remaining pieces into two parts makes the meal last longer. (Save the tips in the freezer to make stock, along with chicken backs.)

Tanis’s recipe calls for 5 pounds of chicken wings; I usually do around 2 pounds and halve the marinade.Tanis chicken wings and sauce He also makes a sort of Asian-style slaw that we copy as well, with some very minor adjustments. You can make it while the wings are in the oven. Tanis calls for an hour in the oven at 375F, but I roast the pieces at just under 400F, test them at 165F with my trusty Thermapen, and they are done in less than a half-hour.





Peppery Chicken Wings & Slaw

Serves 4
I have slightly modified both recipes from the book, and this meal is done in about 30 minutes.
Recipe by David Tanis.
Adapted from Heart of the Artichoke.
For the wings and the marinade:
  1. 5 pounds (2¼kg) chicken wings, tips removed and wing divided at joint into two parts
  2. 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  3. ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  4. 1 teaspoon cayenne, piment d’esplette or Italian peperoncino
  5. 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  6. 4 garlic cloves, peeled and squashed to a paste
  7. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  8. Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For the slaw:
  1. 1 small head of firm green cabbage, cored and shredded
  2. 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  3. 1 to 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
  4. 1 Manar (think small Persian) cucumber julienned
  5. 1 jalapeño or serrano chile (I remove seeds and white pith to lessen heat), cut into very thin strips
  6. Juice of 2 to 3 limes
  7. Toasted sesame seed oil to taste
  8. Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  9. Finely chopped cilantro or parsley can be added
  10. Soy sauce can be added to the dressing, to taste
For the wings:
    1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C) and lay a Silpat or parchment paper on 1 or 2 half-sheet pans.
    2. Make the marinade by mixing the spices (except for the salt and pepper) with the olive oil.
    3. Lay the wing pieces out on a plate or half-sheet and salt and pepper them to taste.
    4. Transfer the wings to the marinade and fold them into it thoroughly.
    5. Allow to rest for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, make the Roquefort Cheese Sauce I describe in the introduction to the post.
    6. Arrange on sheets so the pieces are not touching and put them into the oven.
    7. Check after 20 minutes for doneness. They are more than done after the internal temperature reaches over 165F (75C).

For the slaw:

  1. Mix together all the shredded, jullienned and thinly sliced ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Mix together the lime juice and sesame oil and add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. You can add a dash of good-quality soy sauce to the dressing.
  4. Add the dressing to the slaw, just enough to flavor it, not soak it.
  5. Serve with chicken wings and Roquefort Cheese Sauce.



I roast them at a slightly higher temperature, 390F or 200C.

This post originally appeared in Kitchen Detail.

2 thoughts on “Kitchen Detail: (Not) Buffalo Wings

  1. Hello Cynthia,
    Let me know what you think. I make it frequently.

  2. Cynthia Tilson says:

    Yum! Can’t wait to try these asap!

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