Monday, July 15, 2013

Honey-Chile Chicken Wings from Chef Tim Wood of Carmel Valley Ranch, CA

Chef Tim Wood of
Carmel Valley Ranch 
Sometimes, there’s nothing better than a big dish of wings plunked down in the center of the dinner table for everyone to pick up and pick at.  That’s what we did the other night.  Along with a big green salad, it was a perfect thing to eat.  I love chicken wings—crispy on the outside, meltingly tender inside.  And what I loved about this recipe is that these wings are broiled--not fried.  This technique makes them extra crispy.  Then an easy glaze makes them all the things a great chicken wing should be—sweet and salty and sticky.  The glaze itself is made with rice vinegar, soy sauce and honey with a kick from crushed red pepper flakes steeped in the sauce.  I found this recipe in Food and Wine and with it a story about how the latest guests at a renowned California hostelrie are honey bees.

Lavender at Carmel Valley Ranch
Carmel Valley Ranch in Carmel CA is hardly your rustic retreat. It’s 500 acres of play space with every imaginable amenity—from golf and tennis to bocce ball.  The Ranch also includes its own apiaries and beekeeping is yet another activity guests can participate in.  The beekeeper, John Russo, guides guests as they "do everything from operating the smoker to doing hive checks”.  This time of year the Ranch’s fields of lavender put on an incredible show.  But equally impressive are the 150,00 bees busily pollinating the flowers and fruit trees.  Despite dire reports about colony collapse and bee mites, which are plaguing beekeepers all over the country, bees thrive at Carmel Valley.  The Ranch even sponsors “Honey and Lavender” Weekends. 
It sounds like a phenomenal way to introduce children to the miracle of the honey bee.  Go to for details.
Mary Woltz of Bee's Needs
It makes sense then that today’s recipe from Carmel Valley Ranch’s Chef Tim Wood would feature honey to sweeten its chicken wings.   He uses the honey from the Ranch’s hives.  I used honey from Bee’s Needs in Sag Harbor NY.  This is the honey lovingly brought to market by Mary Woltz.  Bee’s Needs honey is gathered throughout the season so that the early honey tastes of early Spring’s flowers, Mid-summer honey of its seasons blooms and finally Fall’s blooms end the honey season.  Bee’s Needs honey is sold at Farmer’s Markets all over the Hamptons.  It might be a good idea to contact Mary to find out exactly where you can find her flawless honey.  Here’s the contact information.  Mary Woltz: 631-702-5667.  But if you are nowhere near here, poke around wherever you live and you’re sure to find some honey bee devotee who, like Mary, is doing all they can to preserve the  Bees and with them everything we grow.  Here’s the recipe:

Recipe for Honey-Chile Chicken Wings from Chef Tim Woods of Carmel Valley Ranch, Carmel, CA. 
Serves 4. Active Time 10 minutes. Total Time 1 hour

4 pounds chicken wings

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Lots of Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/2 cup honey

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 scallions, thinly sliced

1. Preheat the broiler and set a rack in the center of the oven. In a large bowl, toss the chicken wings with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Arrange the wings on a wire rack set over a large, sturdy baking sheet. Broil for 45 to 50 minutes, turning every wo minutes or so, until the wings are cooked through and crisp.

2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the vinegar and crushed red pepper and simmer for 1 minute. Let cool, then whisk in the honey and soy sauce.

3. In a large bowl, carefully toss the chicken wings with the honey ­soy

mixture. Transfer the wings to a platter, sprinkle with the scallions and serve.

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