Here’s a book that may have passed you by this year. Lyons Press launched a series of small cookbooks from up-and-coming chefs. The books aren’t flashy, but there are some real treasures in them – like this one.
We’ll be taking a break for Thanksgiving after this post–Happy Turkey Day, everybody! And stay tuned for more Best Recipes after the holiday.
The book: Comfort and Spice, by Niamh Shields (Lyons Press, $19.95)
The recipe: Crispy Pomegranate Molasses Chicken Wings with Tahini Sauce
Why I tried it: I think the name says it all. Like most people, I dislike and avoid deep-frying. But there are some times when there’s just no other choice, so a few times a year I just go for it. Also, I have a real weakness for both pomegranate molasses and tahini. I’d never seen them paired before. Could it be as good as it sounded?
Why I loved it: Because it’s wings we’re talking about and not breast, the spices and molasses really penetrated the meat overnight. The seasoned flour coat doubles down on the cumin anyway, and then you crisp it up in the fryer. Do not Skip the Dip. When the crisp, sweet, spiced wing meets the cool, tart, creamy dip, sparks fly.
Estimated preparation time: 20 day-before minutes + overnight marinade + 30 day-of, messy minutes.
Crispy Pomegranate Molasses Chicken Wings with Tahini Sauce
Recipe excerpted from Comfort & Spice by Niamh Shields, Lyons Press, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press.
Seives 6—8 as a snack
For the marinade
1/3 cup pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
For the chicken
2¾ pounds chicken wings, cut in half at the joint
2 whole eggs, or 3 egg whites, beaten
light oil, to deep-fry (peanut or sunflower)
For the seasoned flour
2 heaping cups all-purpose flour
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
½ teaspoon chili powder
1. Combine all the ingredients for the marinade and massage into the wings.
Cover and leave in the refrigerator for at least two hours, preferably overnight.
2. The next day, pour all the ingredients for the seasoned flour into a large plastic storage bag. Add the chicken, close the bag, and toss.
3. Place the eggs or egg whites in a large shallow dish. Transfer the chicken to the egg, coat thoroughly, then repeat with the flour.
4. Heat 2 inches of oil in a very large pan, or a deep fat fryer, until it reaches 35o°F on an oil thermometer or a cube of bread froths the oil immediately. Fry the chicken in batches, ensuring the pan is not crowded. Drain on paper towels and serve warm.
For the tahini dip: chop 3 garlic cloves and crush in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon of toasted cumin seeds. Add ¾ cup tahini, ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, and 5 tablespoons of water. Add the juice of a lemon until the taste and consistency suits you. Stir in chopped cilantro and serve.