Saturday, June 23, 2018


Did you miss World Tapas Day? That was Thursday, but you can still celebrate. Are you inviting folks over to watch the next Spain match in World Cup soccer? Maybe you’re planning a picnic for the Fourth of July?  Whatever the occasion—tapas party, picnic at the beach, buffet supper or potluck, the answer is wings! Bring ‘em.

Crispy chicken wings with a green chile/cilantro dipping sauce.

Wing drumettes are breaded and fried in olive oil.

Wings and potatoes with spicy mojo--terrific tapas, with Sherry--

or with beer.

My world-class wings are Spanish-inflected—there is smoked pimentón in the marinade and they are fried in olive oil. The wings can be served as finger food (paper napkins on the side and a bowl for bone discards), with or without a dipping sauce. I’ve made a green chile sauce, called mojo verde, to go with the wings and with new potatoes. (More sauce suggestions are at the end of this post.)

Cheering for España!

Spain’s last match in first-round play is Monday, June 25, against Morocco. (At 8 pm in Kalingrad, Russia, 8 pm in Spain, and 2 pm ET in the US.) Will the team make it to the final July 15? That will mean a lot more wings!

Crispy Fried Chicken Wings
Alitas de Pollo Empanadas

The thick wing joint, also called drumette, is best for breading and frying. If you have to use whole wings, save the flat joints and wing tips for making stock.

The wings are seasoned in a quick marinade before being empanadas, breaded, by dipping in flour, beaten egg and bread crumbs. Allow the breaded wings to dry in the fridge for an hour before frying. More about frying with olive oil here.

Makes about 16 pieces.

2 pounds wing joints, preferably drumettes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sweet smoked pimentón (paprika)
½ teaspoon picante (hot) smoked pimentón or pinch of cayenne
½ teaspoon crumbled thyme
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
1-2 cups flour
2 cups fine dry bread crumbs
Olive oil for frying
Dipping sauce, to serve

A quick marinade with pimentón and lemon juice gives the wings flavor.
Place the wings in a single layer on a sheet pan. In a small bowl combine 2 teaspoons salt, pepper, two kinds of pimentón, thyme and lemon zest. Sprinkle the salt mixture evenly over both sides of the wings. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Let the wings marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Assembly line for breading the wings: dredge them in flour, dip in beaten egg, then roll them in fine dry bread crumbs. Let them dry for an hour before frying.
Beat the egg with the water in a medium bowl. Combine the flour with ½ teaspoon salt and place it in a shallow bowl or pan. Place the bread crumbs in another bowl or pan. Dredge the chicken wings in flour then dip them in beaten egg. Roll them in bread crumbs. Place on a sheet pan and refrigerate, uncovered, for 1 hour.

Frying wings in olive oil. Don't let them brown too quickly. They need to cook thoroughly in the 6-8 minutes it takes to brown them on all sides.

Place oil in a frying pan to a depth of 1 inch. Heat the oil until it is shimmering, but not smoking (360ºF, if you have a frying thermometer). Add wings in one layer. Fry until golden on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn once or twice more until wings are golden-brown on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes total. Moderate the heat so wings don't brown too fast. (Remove and cut into one wing to make sure meat is cooked.) Skim the wings out and drain them on paper towels. Continue frying remaining wings.

Serve hot, warm or room temperature, accompanied by dipping sauce, if desired.
Wings can be reheated in a medium-hot oven for 5 minutes.

Once cooled, wings can be packed in plastic containers for carrying to a picnic.

Green Chile Sauce
Mojo Verde

Spicy chile sauce with fresh cilantro goes well with fried foods.

Instant potato salad: spoon the mojo chile sauce over boiled new potatoes.

This sauce is typical of the Canary Islands where it is served with potatoes and grilled fish. My version this week uses green garlic scapes, the flowering stems of the garlic plant, instead of cloves of garlic. 
Garlic scapes.

4 cloves garlic or 3 tablespoons chopped garlic scapes
1 green chile, such as jalapeño (or to taste)
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
½ cup chopped parsley
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons wine vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons water

Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. The sauce keeps, covered and refrigerated, one week.

More recipes for chicken wings:

More sauces to serve with fried chicken wings:



  1. "The thick wing joint, also called drumette, is best for breading and frying. If you have to use whole wings, save the flat joints and wing tips for making stock"

    You are so wrong there. The drumette is tough and the whole top is nothing but sinew and cartilage. Take that mid-section of the wing, separate the two bones at one end, pull the smaller one out, then push the meat up the remaining bone. It gives you a little lollipop of pure meat. I learned this from a Chinese chef years ago, and he was so right. Give it a try.

    Other than that, your recipe is great. Love the site and all the good info you have here. Thanks!

    1. More Cowbell: Thanks for your helpful advice. I do like the no-bother of drumettes, ready to cook, but I imagine the wing lollipops are better, with no cartilege.

  2. The Mojo Verde recipe is terrific. I've made it three times since you published it. Much more interesting than chimichurri. Less oil, more flavor. I added some to tzatziki sauce, a potato salad, and on zucchini fritters. Livened everything up! Thank you.

    1. Heather: You´re welcome! Mojo verde, from the Canary Islands, just off the Atlantic coast of Morocco, is almost identical to Moroccan chermoula sauce. I'm definitely going to try the mojo on zucchini fritters!