Seasons come and seasons go … and Meyer lemon season is drawing to a sad close for another year. And with a couple of lonely looking lemons which had seen better months staring back at me, it was a question of what was something else, something different again, that I could do with them. Every year, I seek new ideas for Meyer lemons and try new ways to use these amazing fruits. I’ve done everything from sugar cookies to salmon with the highlight this year being the Meyer lemon meringue pie I did a few months ago — god that was good.
So I thought — chicken wings. Well, I probably more accurately craved chicken wings and then thought about them, but the point is, they were on my mind. One of my favourite wing versions is any variation on the “salt and pepper” wing — simple in flavour. The challenge with making wings at home rather than a restaurant is the choice to deep-fry or not — and it’s a decision made more acute with a “dry rub” wing because its crispness is more pronounced rather than one dripping in gooey sauces (not that there is anything wrong with those). Over the years, I’ve had a range of salt-pepper wings that also included lemon, some great, some very forgettable. The question was, could I make them at home … without a deep-fryer? Could I get to crispy? And I could I amp up the lemon flavour in these bad boys to make them totally unforgettable?
The answer was a resounding yes in all matters. No, the wings didn’t have that deep-fried texture (exactly), but they had a very satisfying mouthfeel which was the point. As for the lemon flavour — “triple lemon” you ask? Simple: lemon zest (and lots of it which is possible with a Meyer lemon), some lemon juice, and lemon pepper. If you can’t find the lemon pepper, just throw a bit more zest into the flour-spice mixture.
Cooking Tips: There isn’t much to tip, in truth. The key to doing wings at home is to not under-bake them. You want to make sure they’re cooked to the bone — which is when the meat will fall off the bone and make you go “ahhh.” I personally think an important key in my own success of doing them at home is doing them on an earthenware pan … not on a non-stick pan. It just produces a better, more evenly distributed heat too cook them from top and below and the slight porosity of the pan makes for a crisper final product. So while baking them might take a little longer to cook them through and through, it doesn’t really require much of you — this is a simple recipe which gives you plenty of time to sit down with a beer or a glass of wine and enjoy the company of your friends or family while the wings do their thing. Perfect for a Friday night. Perfect for the end of a season.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
Rest time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 80 minutes
Sweet Ginger-Garlic Chicken Wings
- 2 pounds (1kg) chicken wings, cut into pieces, tips removed
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/3 cup (80mL) corn flour (not cornmeal)
- 1 teaspoon (5mL) lemon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon (2½ mL) paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon (1mL) garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon (2½ mL) Kosher sea salt
+ extra salt to pass over the plate before serving
- 1/4 cup (60mL) extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- zest of two Meyer lemons
- Preheat oven to 400˚F (200˚C).
- If necessary, prepare your chicken wings by segmenting them at the joint and then by removing the tips (discarding the tips which otherwise have a tendency to cook faster and burn).
- Mix flour and seasonings together in a sturdy plastic bag.
Beat the egg yolk in a large bowl.
Then place the wings in the eggwash and toss to coat them all.
- Place the chicken wings in 2-3 batches inside the bag and seal/hold tight and shake until chicken is fully coated and no ‘wet’ spots on the wings remain. Arrange wings on baking sheets, making sure none of the wings are touching.
Bake the wings in oven at 400˚F (200˚C) and bake for 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the the lemon glaze. Start by zesting the lemons with a fine rasp (microplane).
… and in a medium bowl, add the olive and then juice one of the lemons. Add the lemon zest, and mix well together.
- After 25 minutes of baking, remove wings and turn them over …
… and return to oven and bake for another 20 minutes.
Remove wings from oven … and toss them in the glaze.
Rearrange them on the baking sheet now, return them back to the oven for another 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn oven to broil and broil a few more minutes until golden and crispy.
Remove from oven, let stand 5-10 minutes before serving … and enjoy.