1-1: Orange-Glazed Chicken Wings

We’re over 3 years into this project, and I’m only now covering the very first recipe in the book, 1-1: Orange-Glazed Chicken Wings. I don’t think I’ve ever made these wings before, but the memory of coming up with this project and starting to put it into motion (by sitting down and actually scanning the cards) features this recipe very prominently. Since this was the very first one, that might explain why the edges of the card pictures are strangely cropped.

While this would probably make a decent appetizer, I feel like as a society we’ve come pretty far in wing technology and distribution methods in the last 30 years–these are a lot of work for something that are pretty easy and cheap to just buy in, especially in more interesting flavor/spice combinations. There’s entire restaurants dedicated to wings at this point (even ones that don’t feature an owl and scantily-clad women).

We did make wings in-house during my restaurant tenure, but people are awfully finicky about the preferred style (fried vs baked, breaded vs non-breaded, vinegar-based sauce or not, etc.) of their wings, especially when craft beer and other hipster-y stuff like chalkboards and cornhole are involved.

The majority of the work for this one was separating the wings–if you buy pre-separated ones (most likely frozen), you’ll save yourself even more time (and gore).

Ingredients. I went authentic, so we’ve got minimally-processed wings (more work for me) and a whole lemon for the lemon juice. My green onion is a little floppy, but it’s going to be blended into a sauce, so that’s okay.

Prepped two quarter-sheet pans with foil. I chose to use the small pans so that I could fit them into my toaster oven–it’s a better broiler than my regular oven, plus I avoid heating the whole house up when I use it.

Separating wings is easy if you hit it at just the right section of the joint–otherwise the sound and feel of chopping through raw bone and tendons feels a bit macabre.

This is half of them, the other half are on a second sheet. I baked them naked first, as directed.

While the wings went through their first round in the oven, I ran the glaze ingredients through the blender. It’s times like these I wish I still had my Magic Bullet–it’s a bummer to get the whole Vitamix dirty for something so small. I have a teeny food processor on my Amazon wish list, but it’s more a matter of storage space at this point versus cost.

The glaze turned out greener that I expected–maybe I used too much of the green part of the onion? Still smells orangey, but they’re going to look a lot less orange in color than I had expected from the recipe card photo.

Brushed the naked wings with the glaze–I feel like they could have used more. That’s the trouble with non-breaded wings though, it’s tough to get them to stay saucy.

Action shot of the broiling. It is WAY PAST time to clean my toaster oven.

After broiling. There’s some nice dark marks on there, but I still feel like they leave something to be desired, especially in the color category.

Final plating. I sprinkled them with a bit of parsley to lend some contrast, but I’ll be honest with you–I jacked the saturation up on this photo a LOT when I processed it just so they SORT OF looked orange-ish. It was an interesting experience, but I don’t think I’d do it again–I’ll just buy them pre-made next time I find myself in need of appetizer wings.

Grade: C