Thai peanut chicken wings
Total time: About 1 hour, plus marinating and cooling times
Servings: 8 to 10
Zest of 3 Key limes
1/2 cup Key lime juice
1/4 cup water
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 teaspoons chipotle powder
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 to 4 Thai or serrano chiles, or to taste
2 pounds trimmed chicken wings, cut at the joint and wing tips removed (20 to 24 pieces)
1. In a blender, combine the lime zest and juice, water, onion, garlic, vanilla, ginger, chipotle powder, soy sauce and serrano chile. Blend until well puréed.
2. Place the trimmed wings in a large, sealable plastic bag. Pour over the marinade and eliminate as much air as possible before sealing the bag. Use your hands to massage the marinade through the bag over the wings. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, up to overnight.
Peanut sauce and assembly
1 cup creamy peanut butter, preferably Skippy
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar, sifted to remove any lumps, plus extra to taste
2 tablespoons canola oil, more as needed to thin the sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, more to taste
1 tablespoon Key lime juice, more to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt, more to taste
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder, more to taste
Vegetable oil for frying
1 to 2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
Chopped green onions, for garnish
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the peanut butter, brown sugar, canola oil, sesame oil, Key lime juice, salt and chipotle powder. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the ingredients are combined and the sauce warms; be careful not to overheat or the sauce may burn. Taste the sauce and adjust as needed (with extra brown sugar, sesame oil, Key lime juice or salt). Remove from the heat and set aside in a warm place. This makes about 1 1/3 cups sauce.
2. Remove the wings from the marinade, wiping off the excess marinade with paper towels to dry the wings.
3. Fill a 4-quart pot with frying oil to a depth of 3 to 4 inches. Heat the oil to maintain a temperature of 350 degrees. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375 degrees.
4. Fry the wings, in batches, until the meat is firm and opaque, and the skin is crisp and a rich golden-brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the wings to a large rack on a baking sheet, spacing them at least 1 inch apart from each other. Continue until all the wings are fried.
5. Brush each wing on one side with a light coating of sauce. Place the wings in the oven for about 3 minutes to bake the sauce onto the wings. Remove the wings from the oven and flip them over, brushing the other side with a light coating of sauce. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds and bake again for about 3 minutes.
6. Remove from heat and allow to cool just slightly (enough so they can be handled). Meanwhile, thin the remaining sauce if desired with a little extra canola oil, then pour it into a small bowl and garnish with the chopped green onion.
7. Remove the wings to a plate or platter and serve immediately, with extra sauce on the side.
Each of 10 servings: 459 calories; 16 grams protein; 14 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 39 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 29 mg. cholesterol; 11 grams sugar; 238 mg. sodium.