I get pretty excited about a new book with great recipes, and when it includes an interesting tip or two as well, I’m even more eager to use the book. With that in mind, the new book from Virginia Willis of which I received a review copy, Basic to Brilliant, Ya'll, will frequently be open on my kitchen counter. Willis combines classic, southern cuisine with perfected techniques and some French dishes that may have been given a southern twist. Every recipe in the book is presented first in its standard way, and that’s followed by a brilliant tip that makes the dish even more special. The tip might be a suggestion for the presentation, a garnish, or an added step in the process. They're all so brilliant because they’re not about adding to the cost of the recipe, they’re just about taking an additioinal step for special occasions. For instance, for the shrimp rillettes, the spread could be served with store-bought crackers or endive leaves, and the brilliant tip is to make homemade fennel flatbreads. I plan to try this for a Thanksgiving appetizer. The kale omelet would delicious on its own, but it’s made brilliant by being baked in a sourdough boule. And, the meringue pillows with strawberries and cream recipe is elevated by making dacquoise layers for a cake instead of individual meringues.
I couldn’t wait to try the curried chicken wings recipe and its accompanying brilliant tip. The basic recipe involves marinating chicken wings in a mix of curry powder, turmeric, cayenne, soy sauce, canola oil, chopped jalapenos, and finely chopped garlic. To up the presentation of the wings, they were turned into chicken “lollipops.” Each wing was cut into drumettes and flat pieces, tendons were cut, and the meat was pushed down the only bone on the drumette or the bigger of the two bones on the flat piece. On flat pieces, the smaller bone was then removed. You’re left with a scraped-clean bone that makes each cooked wing piece very easy to pick up and eat. After turning the pieces into lollipops and marinating them for at least an hour, they were baked while the dipping sauce was made. The sauce was a mix of Greek yogurt, peach preserves, hot sauce, and salt and pepper.
Cutting the wings to form the lollipops did require some extra effort, and the flat pieces were not as easy to convert as the drumettes. However, it was absolutely worth it. They looked great, and were perfect for serving yourself from a platter. They tasted as good as they looked too. Even though I only had time to marinate the wings for one hour, the spices flavored the chicken well. And, the sweet-spicy dipping sauce was exactly right with the flavors from the marinade.
See my review of Basic to Brilliant, Ya'll and get this curried chicken wings recipe at Project Foodie.