BUFFALO WINGS WITH BLUE CHEESE DRESSING

These are the absolutely authentic Buffalo chicken wings, invented at an obscure bar, called The Anchor Bar, in Buffalo, New York. In 1964, the bar’s owner, Teressa Bellissimo, received an especially large delivery of chicken wings from her supplier – and invented this method of preparing them. They were an instant sensation, their reputation spread far and wide, and in 1977 the city of Buffalo declared July 29 “Chicken Wing Day” in honor of the creation. Following the recipe for the chicken wings is my favorite recipe for blue cheese dressing. Note that the dressing is best if made ahead and allowed to stand to develop flavor. You may, of course, use a bottled dressing or another recipe of your choice. Buffalo Wings are traditionally served with blue cheese dressing to dip them in, and celery sticks to munch alongside. It is a stellar combination!

SERVES 4,
20-24 chicken wings
vegetable oil for deep frying
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
6 ounces, Frank’s Louisiana Red Hot Sauce (or substitute another spicy hot red sauce of your choice)
salt and pepper to taste
Blue Cheese Dressing for dipping (*recipe follows)
4 ribs, celery – cut into 3-inch long strips (each about 1/4-inch wide)

Cut the tips off the chicken wings, and discard (or freeze and reserve them for another use – such as chicken stock). Cut the remaining piece of chicken wing into two pieces at the joint. Pat each piece as dry as possible with paper towels.

In a heavy pot, pour oil for deep-frying to fill pot by no more than half (to leave room for oil bubbling up when food is added). Heat over high heat until the oil temperature is 365 degrees (or until a cube of bread will brown nicely on both sides in about 60 seconds). Cook the chicken wing pieces – in batches, without adding so many at one time that you crowd the pan – until they are golden brown and cooked through – about 10 minutes (slightly more or less time, depending on size).

Meanwhile, combine the butter and hot sauce in a pot large enough to also hold the wings, and place the pot over medium heat to melt the butter. Whisk the butter and hot sauce together to blend; season with salt and pepper.

When the wings are fried, drain them thoroughly on brown paper bags or paper towels – then stir them into the sauce mixture. Toss well to coat all wings with the sauce. Serve immediately with blue cheese dressing and celery sticks.

*BLUE CHEESE DRESSING
I can’t stress enough how much of a difference is made by your choice of blue cheese – better quality cheese has much more flavor!

MAKES 2 CUPS

3 ounces, cream cheese (at room temperature)
1/3 cup, crumbled blue cheese (or Roquefort) – the better the cheese, the better the dressing will be
1/2 cup, half and half
1/4 teaspoon, salt
1/4 teaspoon, Dijon mustard
1/2 cup, mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon, Beau Monde seasoning*

Blend all ingredients together in blender or food processor until well-blended. Allow to rest for at least 8 hours (refrigerated) to develop best flavor. Shake or whisk well before using. Will keep in refrigerator for several days.

[*Beau Monde is a spice blend manufactured by Spice Islands that can be found in most supermarkets – substitute celery salt, and a very small amount of onion salt.]