Sunday, August 16, 2009

Simply Wonderful Wings

I am not daunted by lengthy ingredient lists.

On the contrary, I pride myself on quickly scanning a list and categorizing the ingredients – spices, fridge items, pantry items, special-purchase items, etc. Oftentimes, what seems to be an overwhelming list is merely clogged with spices (even the most basic pumpkin pie has four – cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves) or “starter” ingredients (olive oil, onions, garlic, bell pepper and garlic are the foundation of many a soup or sauce), or the occasional “show-off” items. (Really, are shallots necessary in a boullabaise that already includes onions, garlic, and leeks? And I'm still trying to figure out what yuzu -- a Japanese citrus fruit that managed to pop up on nearly every Top Chef episode this past season -- looks like.)

So this past weekend, when Darling Daughter begged me to make her aunt’s and uncle’s “Greek Wings,” I didn’t flinch.

Actually, Greek Wings (I know -- it sounds like something excavated from an ancient Athenian archaeological site) is just one recipe in my sister and brother-in-law’s wing repertoire, which includes Buffalo Wings, BBQ Wings and Teriyaki Wings. DD insisted, though, that the “Greeks” were the best. (Already I know that my Greek brother-in-law, G-BIL, will relish repeating that phrase out of context.) The Greek Wings are grilled, DD revealed and they have the best sauce ever.

That, my friends, was the sound of the gauntlet being thrown.

Being 12, however, DD had no idea what the sauce included. I was horrified to realize that she didn’t even care! I pressed on, though. Was it creamy? I asked, envisioning a tangy cucumber-yogurt tzatziki. Was it chunky -- maybe with Kalamata olives, feta and preserved lemon? Was it zesty – maybe riffing on traditional Greek salad dressing with olive oil, wine vinegar and oregano?

Her answer remained firm. And to make sure her pushy 46-year-old mom got the point, DD cranked the volume: I DON’T KNOW.

Okkkaaaaaayyy. Plan B.

Luckily, G-BIL was happy to oblige. He even sent pictures (which makes it even more embarrassing that it took me a week to post this blog). Turns out, those Greek Wings are the best. And here’s a shocker: Not including the wings themselves, the ingredient list numbered three – and with the wings, just four!

Yep. Keep your shallots and preserved lemon and arcane fruits (I still want to know what yuzu tastes like, though). These three-ingredient wings are going to become regulars on our backyard grill.

G-BIL’s Greek Wings

½ cup lemon juice
½ cup olive oil
1-2 teaspoons Cavender’s Greek Seasoning, plus extra for sprinkling
chicken wings (a couple of pounds), cut into pieces, tips discarded (or frozen for broth)

Mix lemon juice, olive oil and seasoning in a large bowl. Stir in wings (can allow to marinate for an hour, if you like). Then, grill wings slowly over low heat. When wings are nearly done, baste liberally with remaining Greek sauce. Continue grilling and basting until wings are done. (Don’t baste wings the final two minutes or so.) DD likes hers extra “saucy,” so remaining marinade can be zapped in the microwave to be served at the table.
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