It’s picnic weather, and in Melbourne we kick off the season with horse racing. On Tuesday, Melbournians get a day off work to sip champagne, wear their glad rags, tuck a form guide under their arm and put their annual bet on the Melbourne Cup.
For those of us not at the racecourse, BBQs will be wrenched from their winter hibernation and rugs will be laid out on lawns, ready to kickoff a season of outdoor eating that runs through to March. It’s time for picnic food.
Chicken wings are a crowd pleaser, and go so well with a frosty beer or a tall glass of bubbles. But many chicken wing recipes require overnight marinating in a complicated mix of sauces, and/or a terrifyingly hot pan of oil for frying. Both seem like too much effort. This recipe requires no prep and no frying, but results in a tray of deeply golden, tangy, slightly spicy wings that will complete any picnic spread.
Chicken wings are usually sold whole, so you’ll need to break them down, removing the wing tips (save them for stock) and separating the drumstick from the other bit. I prefer to use a really sharp pair of kitchen scissors to cut through the joints, I find it gives me a bit of extra strength, but a sharp knife also works. This guide to disassembling a chicken wing is helpful.
The sauce on these wings is very simple, and stars ginger. I added lemon juice and chilli to the original recipe as I like my wings spicy, and the lemon seemed to brighten the spring onion and ginger base. Once cooked, the sauce sets onto the wings, giving them a golden coating of flavour, with little bits of more-deeply-golden morsels for crunch, and for licking off your fingers.
Chicken wing bones are notoriously hard to dispose of elegantly, especially when holding a champagne in the other hand, so make sure there’s plenty of napkins or spare plates around for your picnickers to use. If outdoor eating is moved indoors, these wings are also lovely served with a fresh, green salad as an informal lunch.
Quick Ginger Chicken Wings
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil (plus more for oiling pans)
- 1.8 kgs (4 pounds) chicken wings, cut in half at the joint, wing tips removed
- 8 large spring onions (scallions)
- 1/4 cup chopped, peeled, fresh ginger
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 teaspoons chilli flakes (more if you like it spicy)
Preheat oven to 230c (450f). Oil two large baking sheets and divide chicken wings between them, season with salt. Place in the oven and cook for 35 minutes, rotating sheets and flipping chicken half way through. The chicken should be cooked through and golden brown.
While your wings are cooking, place spring onions, ginger, 1 teaspoon salt, lemon juice, chilli flakes and oil in a food processor and puree. When your wings are cooked, transfer them to a large bowl, add sauce, and toss to coat.
Return wings to a baking sheet and bake until set, about 10 minutes.
Adapted from Everyday Food, October 2013