What a lesson in seizing opportunities.
Yuzu, if you’re not familiar, is a citrus fruit from East Asia. It looks like a wrinkly, grumpy yellow orange, tastes fairly tart, and its zest is essentially an aromatic powerhouse. Or so I’m told. It’s not exactly an everyday sight in my part of the planet. And, see, this winter, during the brief “weird-looking-citrus” season, I saw fresh yuzu at Whole Foods once. Once! Of course, that was the day I decided to go for a Buddha’s Hand instead (further shame: I never did anything interesting with it).
I saw Buddha’s Hands there the next week, and the week after that. I mean, for all I know, they’re still there. But the yuzu? No ma’am/sir. This, despite my love of everything containing yuzu that I’ve ever tried.
Long story short: I’M AN IDIOT, YOU GUYS.
However, this is why we have yuzu hot sauce. Ever-present, knowing no seasons, sitting patiently on the shelves at well-stocked Asian markets all over the world, and really, really delicious.
Yuzu-It is great however you consume it, but becomes knock-your-socks-off good on hot (temperature-wise, to be clear) food–the herbal, floral aromas just blossom into something really special (like I hope to someday). It’s almost hard to believe that a hot sauce could be so rounded, and so fragrant.
Naturally… We must put it on something hot and crispy. Like these.
I hardly ever fry anything. The mess! The disposing of the oil! Boo. Hiss. As far as chicken and I are concerned, all we need for a really great interaction is dry skin and a hot oven. That’s it. A generous sprinkle of salt helps, too. I’d never applied that technique to wings before, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t work–and it worked. It crisps perfectly every time. If you insist on frying, though, by all means, do it! Just don’t come crying to me when your hair smells like frying oil–I told you so, because I love you.
Cilantro and yuzu make quite the pair. So fresh. So fresh and so clean.
The yogurt sauce is a nice touch, but not really necessary–because ultimately, these aren’t THAT hot. The flavor is really the star here.
I secretly have a point amongst all this nonsense–a gentle reminder, if you need it. Don’t wait for tomorrow if you can carpe yuzu today, good people! Buy all the weird fruit. Take all the trips. And remember that tattoo removal is very advanced these days.
- 2 lbs chicken wings
- Salt and pepper
- Nonstick spray or olive oil, for pan
- 1/2 cup Yuzu-It hot sauce (I also suspect yuzu kosho paste, thinned with a little melted butter, would work well)
- 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (Fage 2% is my very favorite)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, loosely packed
- Juice of one lime (about a tablespoon)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare one full or two half-sized baking sheets by lining with foil, then coating the foil thinly with nonstick spray or a little olive oil.
- Pat dry the chicken wings very well with a paper towel, then season with salt and pepper. Arrange them in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets and bake until cooked through and crispy, 45-50 minutes.
- To make the sauce, combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
- Place the hot sauce in a large bowl and, when wings are done, transfer them to the bowl and toss to coat well. Serve immediately, alongside the sauce.
- Check your favorite Asian grocery store for Yuzu-It.