I cooked up these wings with the music producer Rusko, dubstep don and electronic music pioneer, at London’s infamous, annual Notting Hill Carnival. I forgot to tell Rusko, who relocated from the UK to LA, that our recipe isn’t the standard American hot wings fare. Now he says I’ve ruined hot wings for him by setting the bar so high! Sorry Rusko, my bad. My wings are dipped and glazed in my signature sweet-and-spicy Apricot Crack Sauce and hit with toasted crushed cashews.
Feel free to improvise with different dried fruits and preserves, such as peaches or pineapple, to change up the fruit flavors. And stay away from monster wings for this one—small ones are much better, preferably organic or pasture raised. I’ve found that the bigger industrial wings burn on the outside and don’t cook thoroughly; the petite ones cook quicker and are superior in flavor and crispness. - DFC
APRICOT CASHEW HOT WINGS
SERVES: 6 as an entrée; 8 tapas style
PREP AND COOKING TIME: 1½ hours, plus 3 to 24 hours for brining
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: candy thermometer
5 lbs. small chicken wings, tips removed and split at the joint
2 cups buttermilk
2 squirts Sriracha
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 tbsps. red pepper flakes
1 5-oz. bottle of your favorite hot sauce
4 squirts Sriracha
1 cup apricot preserves
1 cup cashews, crushed
¼ cup chopped dried apricots
2 or 3 jalapenos or your favorite chili, ribs and seeds removed, diced
1 thumb-size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cashews, finely crushed
¼ cup All-Purpose Chicken Spice*
2 large eggs
1/2 cup water or beer
1. Rinse the chicken wings and pat them dry with paper towels.
2. In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk and Sriracha. Add the wings, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 3 to 24 hours.
3. In a 10-inch skillet set on low, heat the butter, chili flakes, hot sauce, and Sriracha, if using. Add the apricot preserves, cashews, dried apricots, and jalapeño, if using, stirring to combine. Simmer on low for 10 minutes. Keep warm.
4. In a large bowl, combine all coating ingredients.
5. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg and water.
6. Remove the wings from the refrigerator and rinse off the brine.
7. Working in batches, dip the wings in egg wash, then into the flour mixture. Place coated wings on a wire rack set inside a baking sheet. Let sit the wings for 15 minutes before frying.
8. Meanwhile, fill a deep heavy-bottomed pot one-third with oil (about 3 inches) and heat it to 320˚F; use candy thermometer to check oil temperature.
9. Working in batches, fry the wings until deep golden brown, about 13 minutes, turning halfway through. The internal temperature of the wings should be 165˚F; avoid the bone when poking them with the thermometer.
10. Remove fried wings from oil with tongs, and drop them into the warm apricot hot sauce. With a clean set of tongs, evenly coat the wings and place them on a baking baking sheet lined with foil. If you’re not ready to serve, keep them in the oven on its lowest setting.
*ALL PURPOSE CHICKEN SPICE
This mix is great for baked chicken or any poultry dish. Add it to gravies and stuffings as well as mashed potatoes.
Makes about 1½ cups
20 whole cloves, freshly ground or 1 tsp. ground cloves
6 tbsps. dried parsley, crushed
2 tbsps. dried sage leaves, ground or crushed
2 tbsps. dried thyme leaves, crushed or ground
1 tbsp. dried marjoram, crushed or ground
2 tbsps. herbs de Provence, crushed
2 tbsps. granulated onion
2 tbsps. granulated garlic
2½ tsps. sea salt
1. If using whole cloves, grind them in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.
2. In a small bowl, combine the ground cloves with the remaining spices. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
RIDE OR FRY
by Dante Fried Chicken