I bet you’re wondering what “grill-fried” chicken wings are. Well, it was an experiment that went very right, and although I don’t normally blog my weekday meals, this one was particularly pleasing and I thought I’d share it with you. The idea for these wings came from a pizza place that was in business here for a very short time, called Anthony’s Wood Fired Pizza. It was one of our favorite pizza places and we would go there more often for their wings than for the pizza. The wings were simply well-seasoned with lots of garlic and topped with a mound of caramelized onions. They weren’t bathed in sauce and there wasn’t any dipping sauce. They were perfect just as they were. The restaurant closed down a few years ago, but I still make these garlicky chicken wings topped with caramelized onions to this day. I usually make the wings in a 425 degree convection oven, which makes them crispy and golden, but with this continuing heat wave, you couldn’t pay me to turn my oven on that high! Instead I decided to cook the wings on the grill. The experimental part was that I tossed them in a little cornstarch before grilling which gave them a crispy crunch like friend chicken! Fried chicken without deep frying! They were wonderful served alongside a tomato salad with homemade croutons.
It is so important to season the chicken well before grilling. I made a spice mix with the following herbs and spices:
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried herbs du provence
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Wash the chicken wings and pat them completely dry with a paper towel. Drizzle the wings with olive oil and toss to coat. Generously season the wings with the spice mixture. Don’t be shy, really make sure every bit of the chicken is covered. I added the zest and the juice from 1/2 lemon and allowed the chicken to marinate in the spices for about 30 minutes. Preheat the grill to 400 degrees. Put one tablespoon of corn starch in a paper or plastic bag. Drop the chicken wings in the bag and shake until the wings are lightly coated in the corn starch. After the grill reaches 400 degrees, oil the grates with vegetable oil and place the wings on the grill. Turn the wings regularly to keep them from burning and cook for approximately 25 minutes until they are golden brown and cooked through.
To make the caramelized onions, simply slice a sweet onion and add to a pan with two tablespoons of olive oil. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes until the onions begin to soften. Add ground black pepper and a pinch of salt and continue cooking over medium-low heat for approximately 45 minutes. I like to add a few splashes of Chipotle Tabasco sauce to the onions when they are nice and brown and completely caramelized. Serve with the chicken wings!
Our tomato season was fairly short-lived. Because it’s so hot, the tomatoes currently on the vines aren’t ripening and are instead just sizzling in the sun. I’ve picked quite a few and hopefully they will ripen in the windowsill, but I think that the majority of our tomato season is over for now. We can hope to get a second season in September. The green zebra tomatoes are still doing fairly well, so I used those in this tomato salad along with store-bought campari and yellow cherry tomatoes.
I kept the salad fairly simple, to allow the flavors of the tomatoes shine through. I also made croutons from some leftover homemade bread that I tossed in a mixture of dijon mustard, vermouth and butter. The croutons are a revelation! I’ve made them before and used them in tomato soup–so delicious!
This salad is flexible–just use whatever tomatoes you prefer. As you can see, I used 3 green zebras, 4 campari tomatoes, and a handful of yellow tomatoes.
Assorted tomatoes of your choice, cut into wedges
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1/4 red onion, finely sliced
handful of basil, sliced thin (chiffonade)
2 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 teaspoon honey or agave syrup
freshly ground black pepper
Whisk the ingredients for the vinaigrette and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Before pouring over the tomato salad, be sure to whisk it once more to emulsify it.
These croutons are amazing! I adapted this recipe from Alexandra’s Kitchen:
1 1/2 cups cubed stale bread. I used some leftover homemade bread that I saved and froze for this purpose
1 heaping tablespoon of whole grain dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sweet cream butter
2 tablespoons white wine or vermouth (I used the vermouth)
salt and pepper
Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then add the mustard, vermouth, salt and pepper and whisk together.
Toss the bread cubes in this sauce and coat evenly. Place on a baking sheet in the oven at 400 degrees and toast for about 5 to 10 minutes. I made these croutons on the grill. I simply placed the baking sheet on the grill alongside the chicken wings on 400 degrees. Toss them frequently and watch them closely so that they don’t burn.
Add the finished, warm croutons to the tomato salad just before serving and mix gently to coat them in the tomato vinaigrette. Serve immediately.