On the very long list of things that I am convinced that other people do effortlessly while I typical flail and fail in the face of — dancing, running, walking from one room to another without forgetting what they were looking for — making dinner on a regular basis with a minimum of brow sweat and complaining is near the top.
It likely doesn’t help that I often spend my cooking hours chasing some very specific idea (a star! a pretzel-y pretzel!) of what I want to cook next, and that this item may or may not amount to dinner, leading to countless days when I realize at 5 p.m. that I have an incoming hangry preschooler and very little plan for what to feed us. A domestic goddess, I hope you never mistake me for.
On the worst of these days, we order sushi or pizza. On the best of these days, I find something that both saves the day and is actually declared a winner by all involved parties and I can’t wait to tell you about it, such as Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe or Sizzling Chicken Fajitas. [See more in the long overdue new category, Weeknight Favorites.]
Last month, the late Gourmet Magazine came to my rescue, and not for the first time. Why did nobody tell me that roasted (or grilled, if you’ve got one) chicken wings were the ultimate weekday night dinner savior? You cannot mess them up. They’re done in just over 30 minutes in the oven, but even if you, say, left them in 20 minutes longer, they’re just fine, which I know from experience. They take on the flavor of whatever you pour over them without requiring a multi-hour or overnight marinade because seriously, who plans that far ahead for a 30 minute meal? (See above: probably people who aren’t me.) And it turns out, if you’ve got the kind of 4.75 year-old that isn’t usually inclined to embrace new foods, they may actually go berserk for what they think are baby drumsticks. They might eat a frightening amount. You might have to bite your tongue when this happens, because you know by now it might never happen again. And then you can make them again next week, when you forget to plan for dinner again.
Weeknight Favorites: A new and long-overdue category. What’s it missing?
One year ago: Slow and Low Dry Rub Oven Chicken
Two years ago: Flag Cake and Blackberry Gin Fizz
Three years ago: Flatbreads with Honey, Thyme and Sea Salt
Four years ago: Mediterranean Pepper Salad, Cherry Brown Butter Bars and Watermelonade
Five years ago: Porch Swing
Six years ago: Chopped Watermelon, Vegetable and Feta Salad
Seven years ago: Roseanne Cash’s Potato Salad
Sticky Sesame Wings
Adapted, barely, from Gourmet Magazine
You can definitely mess with the proportions here; we’ve also enjoyed it with slightly more hoisin and half the honey. I think a little grated fresh ginger could be good in here, as well as a dash or two of Sriracha. We had this with rice (I’m currently enamored with this and this) and roasted asparagus. If I hadn’t waited until the last minute, I may have made this Mango Slaw with Cashews and Mint or the Sugar Snap Slaw with Sesame-Miso Dressing from TSKC.
If you can’t find “wingettes” (often sold as “party wings”), use regular chicken wings but cut off tips from chicken wings with kitchen shears or a large heavy knife (you can use them for stock), then halve wings at the joint.
Yield: 4 main-course servings
3 pounds chicken wingettes or chicken wings (see note up top)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons mild honey (I often halved this)
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
Pinch of cayenne or dash of Sriracha
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted
1 scallion, finely chopped
Heat oven to 425°F. Line a large shallow baking pan with foil and lightly oil it.
Stir wings together with garlic, salt, soy, hoisin, honey, sesame oil and cayenne or Sriracha until coated. Spread wings and any sauce that fell to the bottom of the bowl out on the prepared baking pan in one layer. Roast, turning over once, until cooked through, about 35 minutes. Transfer wingettes to a large serving bowl* and toss with sesame seeds and scallion.
* If you end up with a puddle of sauce in the bottom of your baking pan (I did the one time they were more tightly packed in a dish), after removing the wings, you can pour the extra sauce into a saucepan and reduced it until thick, then stir it over the roasted wings before adding the sesame seeds and scallion.