Weather: 29 degrees, cloudy
What I’m listening to: Gimme, Night Lights
The first time I ever sipped a jalapeño margarita was in Balboa Park in San Diego. It was dark, the twinkle lights were casting a dim yellow glow throughout the park, and we sat on the patio of The Prado surrounded by old world architecture. My friend casually ordered his usual – a jalapeño margarita on the rocks – and when it arrived at the table I asked for a sip, captivated by the fresh jalapeño slices bobbing in the highball glass. When the salt on the rim, the acidity of the lime and the sweetness of the simple syrup met with the heat of the tequila and fresh jalapeño at the back of my palate, it was a revelation.
When I feel like celebrating, jalapeño margaritas are often on the menu. And when contemplating what might make perfect football food for this year’s Super Bowl, it occurred to me that chicken wings with a tequila lime glaze might be ideal. Because, in my opinion, the best wings are spicy, salty, sweet and acidic in just the same way that these margaritas are. Turn on the big game, invite some friends, and pass out the napkins. It’s wing time.
Tequila Lime Chicken Wings
Yields: 6 servings
- 2 pounds chicken wings
- salt and pepper
- For the jalapeño margarita glaze:
- 1/4 cup sugar
- zest of one lime
- 2/3 cup lime juice
- 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup tequila
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- For serving:
- Lime wedges
- Coarse sea salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil then place a non-stick metal baking rack on top of the foil. Place the chicken wings in a single layer on top of the baking rack (this will allow the chicken to get crispy on both sides and allow the juices to run off onto the foil). Season the wings generously with salt and pepper. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and golden, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, lime zest, lime juice, jalapeño, tequila, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 3-5 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken slightly.
Remove the wings from the oven. Turn on the broiler to high. Using tongs, place the wings in a heat safe bowl and toss them in the margarita glaze. Return them to the baking sheet and place them under the broiler until they begin to caramelize and darken, keeping a close eye on them, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer the wings to a serving plate, drizzle them generously with the margarita glaze, and serve with lime wedges and freshly cracked sea salt and any leftover glaze on the side for dipping.
Note: the heat level on these wings will vary depending on the jalapeño.