Those of you who read my post last week about Momofuku’s Ginger Scallion Noodles  have probably already figured out that I did succumb and buy the book. And, I’m so glad I did! Even if I never make one more recipe from it, it was still worth the price. It’s a beautiful book and a very entertaining read.
I saw this recipe for baked chicken wings  a few weeks ago on Steamy Kitchen’s  site, and it sang to me. (I love it when that happens!) I almost always bake my wings instead of frying them, and honestly, I like them better that way. Plus, it’s a lot less messy! Who wants to spend their time sopping up an oil slick on their stove, not to mention figuring out an appropriate way to dispose of a vat of dirty, used, hot oil? I’d rather be watching Simon skewer fresh-faced pop star wannabes on American Idol  or finding out who gets “auffed” on Project Runway . (By the way, pouring said oil down the garbage disposal is NOT an appropriate way to dispose of it. Don’t ask me how I know this. Just trust me.)
Anyway, this chicken wing recipe is not technically right out of Momofuku. Those wings are brined, steamed, and then fried in duck fat. I knew that was never happening in my kitchen, even if I did have the time. Unfortunately, duck fat isn’t a stock item at my local Publix, or anywhere else in town for that matter – and believe me, I’ve looked! So, for the time being, I’ll just have to dream about Momofuku’s wings and live vicariously through those of you brave souls who have made them for yourself.
I’m not complaining, though. (Well, maybe just a little.) Because, these baked wings are fantastic! Their fabulosity comes from Momofuku’s signature Octo Vinaigrette. This vinaigrette was originally designed as an accompaniment for grilled octopus (Octo! Get it?), but it is amazing in lots of other things too. It’s a quirky little mixture, because the oil to vinegar ratio is reversed. Plus, it’s loaded with fresh garlic, ginger and hot chilies. After coming out of the oven, those naked, baked chicken wings are utterly doused in it. And, it is good stuff – really, really good stuff!
This is my new favorite way to prepare (and eat) chicken wings. While, I’d love to try the original version some day, scarfing down a plate of these babies is certainly no hardship! I’m definitely making them again for Super Bowl Sunday. How about you?
Baked Chicken Wings with Octo Vinaigrette
adapted from Momofuku  and steamykitchen.com
3 pounds chicken wings, cut in two with tips snipped off
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 fresh bird’s eye-chili, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup usukuchi (light soy sauce)
2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Fresh ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Place the chicken wings on the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown, turning the chicken wings over halfway during cooking process. While chicken is baking, make the vinaigrette.
2. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a lidded container and shake well to mix. This will keep in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
3. Place cooked chicken wings in a large bowl. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat.