Make Ahead

Zesty Italian Wings

September 22, 2010
1 Rating
Author Notes

This was dinner tonight, served alongside a Caprese salad. The idea for this dish came to me from Andrew Carmellini’s notes on cooking chicken from one of my favorite books, The Flavor Bible. Brining is key here – don’t skip that step. It produces really tender, fall-off-the-bone meat. I like to keep the wing tips on. My favorite parts are those crispy crunchy bits - brings out my inner cavewoman. But feel free to trim yours if you prefer. - mrslarkin —mrslarkin

Test Kitchen Notes

Mrslarkin's Zesty Italian Wings are amazing! First of all, the brining sounded like it would be a pain, but it was really easy to do, and I put the wings in the brine while I was making the marinade. The marinade looked beautiful with the flecks of green from all the herbs and the red from the red pepper flakes (which I cut by about half because we don't like things really hot). I let the wings marinate overnight. Cooking was easy and clean-up a snap with the foil-lined baking sheet. I broiled the wings for 2 minutes on each side. I made the sauce but didn't pour it on--we used it for dipping instead. It was delicious, we were dipping bread in it and spreading it on our corn on the cob. (I recommend keeping the butter sauce on the side.) This is a wonderful way to prepare chicken, and I can see using the marinade again for roast chicken--it was just really good. I highly recommend this as an Editors' Pick. - drbabs —The Editors

  • Prep time 10 hours 15 minutes
  • Cook time 42 minutes
  • Serves 3 or more
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (I use a mix of oregano, rosemary, parsley)
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, for the marinade
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 1/2 cups cold water
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt, for the brine
  • 2 pounds chicken wings, cut in half at the joint
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce, or more to taste (we like Cholula)
In This Recipe
  1. For the marinade, heat the oil and garlic until warm. Add herbs, crushed red pepper, lemon juice and salt. Mix. Set aside. You’ll want to reserve 2 tablespoons of this mixture later. Don’t forget!
  2. In a pot big enough to hold the chicken wings, mix the hot water and honey until dissolved. Add the cold water and salt and stir until most of the salt has dissolved. Add the chicken wings and brine for 30 minutes, in or out of the fridge.
  3. Remove wings from brine and place on a cooling rack set over a sheet pan. Let wings dry thoroughly, patting with paper towels if necessary.
  4. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the marinade for later and pour the rest in a gallon-sized zipper freezer bag. Add the wings. Seal the bag tightly. Gently massage and mush the marinade around all the wings. Place bag in fridge for several hours, or overnight. If you’re at the fridge now and then, turn the bag, and give it another massage.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Remove bag of wings from fridge while oven is preheating.
  6. Lightly spray a cooling rack with cooking spray and place onto a heavy-duty-foil lined sheet pan. Place wings in a single layer onto the rack. Roast wings for 30 to 40 minutes, or until nicely browned and crisp, turning wings and rotating pan every 10 minutes or so. If necessary, broil wings with the oven door ajar for a minute or two to crisp the skin. Watch them carefully, or you'll have zesty burnt wings for dinner.
  7. Mix together the reserved marinade, melted butter and hot sauce. Place hot wings in a large serving bowl and toss with butter mixture.
  8. Dig in!
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