Peppery Vietnamese Chicken Wings with Quick Vegetable Pickles

Chicken wings are most often dressed to an extremely spicy or sticky-sweet finish, but this unique preparation renders them uniquely uber peppery. After you've downed several (good luck having just one) and your tongue tingles from the Asian-inspired sauce, balance your palate with cool pickled vegetables (or a cold beer will do).
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 30 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Inactive: 1 hr
  • Cook: 1 hr 10 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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Ingredients

Vegetable Pickles: 

5 radishes, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds

4 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch sticks

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Chicken Wings:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for greasing

One 2-inch piece ginger, finely grated

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1/3 cup fish sauce

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper

3 pounds chicken wings, wings and drummettes separated

Bibb lettuce leaves, cilantro and lime wedges for serving

Directions

  1. For the vegetable pickles: Put the radishes and carrots in a medium nonreactive bowl. Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt and 4 1/2 cups water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the hot mixture over the vegetables and allow to cool. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the pickles up to 2 days.
  2. For the chicken wings: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add half of the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar, fish sauce and sugar and bring to a high simmer; adjust the heat and cook, whisking occasionally, until the bubbles become foamy and the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the reserved ginger and garlic and the pepper. Let the mixture cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour (can be made up to 2 days ahead). 
  3. Position an oven rack in the top position of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Grease a rimmed baking sheet and arrange the chicken wings in a single layer on it. Roast until the wings are golden and crispy, about 45 minutes, flipping the wings with a metal spatula about halfway through cooking. 
  4. Transfer the wings to a large bowl and toss with the chilled pepper sauce. Arrange the wings on a serving platter along with the pickled vegetables, lettuce, cilantro and lime wedges.
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