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Finger-lickin’ good wings

Creme Fraiche Chicken Wings. Illustrates FOOD-WINGS (category d), by Bonnie S. Benwick (c) 2014, The Washington Post. Moved Monday, May 12, 2014. (MUST CREDIT: Renee Comet; styling by Bonnie S. Benwick)

Creme Fraiche Chicken Wings. Illustrates FOOD-WINGS (category d), by Bonnie S. Benwick (c) 2014, The Washington Post. Moved Monday, May 12, 2014. (MUST CREDIT: Renee Comet; styling by Bonnie S. Benwick)

“We’re going to make some money off these!”

That was the reaction when Tim Ma tossed together a batch of chicken wings for family in 2010. The chef now plates 60 pounds of wings a week at his Maple Ave Restaurant in Vienna, Va. The sauce shines a citrusy heat on wings and drumettes that remain crisp under cover. Eating them is finger-lickin’ business.

The recipe’s so simple that Ma was almost embarrassed to share it. The hitch: He uses Kendall Farms creme fraiche – a rich, cultured product that does not separate when exposed to heat. With extra whisking, a good store brand also will do.

Creme Fraiche Chicken Wings

4 to 6 cups canola oil

2 cups creme fraiche

3 tablespoons oyster sauce

3 tablespoons fish sauce

1/2 cup gojuchang (spicy Korean red pepper paste), more to taste

3 tablespoons tamari

3 tablespoons sudachi juice (see note)

1 pinch each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound chicken wings and drumettes

Heat 4 to 6 cups canola oil in a pot to 350 degrees.

Combine 2 cups good-quality creme fraiche; 3 tablespoons oyster sauce, preferably Sky Dragon brand; 3 tablespoons fish sauce, preferably Squid brand; 1/2 cup gojuchang (spicy Korean red pepper paste); 3 tablespoons tamari; 3 tablespoons sudachi juice; and 1 pinch each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper in a mixing bowl. Whisk into a smooth sauce. Taste and add up to 1/4 cup extra gojuchang if you like spicy heat. Refrigerate half the sauce for another use; it can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a month.

Working in two or three batches, fry 1 pound chicken wings and drumettes in the oil to an internal temperature of 200 degrees, 7 to 8 minutes. They will be golden brown. Use a Chinese skimmer to transfer them to a paper-towel-lined plate. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Immediately toss each seasoned batch into the sauce. Use your hands to coat the chicken evenly, then quickly arrange on a plate.

Garnish with finely chopped chives, or scallions cut thinly on the diagonal. Serve right away. Serves 4.

Note: You may use yuzu or fresh lime juice in place of the sudachi juice.

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