February Recipe of the Month – Ranch Wings
It’s been almost five years since I “discovered” and posted about oven-baked chicken wings. Once I tried those, I never went back to frying which was so much messier. I used to just season my wings with salt and pepper, but that’s changed too. In 2012, I found that dusting the wings with a spice mix that includes flour was both tasty and practical, in that it seemed to give extra crispiness. Since then, I’ve been refining my method and tweaking the ingredients so I thought I’d share my current favorite way of preparing wings.
My new wing-y BFF is parchment paper. I tried it with the ranch wings recipe here, from Let The Baking Begin. What a revelation! The wings easily crisped up top and bottom, better than with the rack. I did still turn them about 2/3 way through, and there was absolutely no sticking, or rack to clean up at the end. I barely even have to clean the pan, because the parchment doesn’t seem to leak through! (I find myself using parchment more and more lately, and even buy it pre-cut into cake pan squares and rounds, and sheet pan rectangles.)
I didn’t have dry ranch dressing around, so have been making a mix of herbs and spices I have on hand, along with flour. I’ve done it with and without the oil (or mayo) and the spices definitely adhere better with a little oil. From another source, I also started adding in a 1/4 teaspoon or so of baking powder to my one pound of wings.
I’ve stuck with the traditional hot sauce-butter-vinegar bath poured over the wings as I serve them, because I love those sharp flavors. And for dipping, in the end, I used bottled ranch dressing to which I added bleu cheese. Because, well, bleu cheese! More recently, I just used bottled bleu cheese dressing (I love Bolthouse), to which I still add extra crumbles of cheese. And I always have celery sticks (sometimes carrot too) because some vegetable must accompany every dinner, in one form or another. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)
Again, the recipe I’ve been riffing on is here, and I pretty much follow it (well, for me), but I do add a couple tablespoons of flour and a bit of baking powder to the coating when I remember. And I do add the hot sauce-butter-vinegar bath.
I do not add any salt though, knowing that every other component of this dish has salt in it. (I recently bought dry Hidden Valley ranch dressing, so I’ll see how it goes next time with the “real deal.”)