Launching this blog has been a strange experience. As focused as I am in terms of target audience (which varies from 1-3 readers per post), I’m struggling between ideas regarding content and cooking approaches. Realistically, how feasible would it be for any given single person to cook something as elaborate as empanadas? I obviously couldn’t handle it. And for a single person with a “budget” (because you’re spending 80% of your after-tax income on alcohol and rent), how am I supposed to expect readers to replicate anything I plan on making?
So I challenged myself: If I only had 10% of my bi-monthly income to spend on food, what would I buy? I decided to brainstorm at the only place I knew how to shop on a budget.
I essentially grew up in a Costco. I remember my dad taking me on early morning trips to Costco so we could each sample half of their massive poppyseed muffins for breakfast. There were countless times I would wander off alone to “explore” and end up browsing the book section until my dad finished his shopping. I was exposed to sushi there (the really shitty pre-packaged white-people kind) and bought a N*SYNC album there only to discover that the CD case was just a standard size and not one massive rectangle like the packaging suggested. Costco taught me a lot of things (mostly about the greatness of shopping in bulk and a bit about cheap churros), but for the past week and a half, Costco has taught me the most difficult lesson yet.
How to cook/eat/enjoy 7 lbs of chicken wings in a limited time frame.
I don’t know how I ended up in the poultry section, especially with the recent salmonella scare, or why I grabbed the wings over breasts or thighs, but I quickly paid for them and thought nothing of it. Realistically, eating a pound of food isn’t actually that difficult. But when you have to eat it more than 3-5 times in 7-10 days, I gets grueling.
I cooked these babies any and every way I knew how, and eventually came up with the most energy efficient (as in, my personal after-work energy) method for cooking chicken wings for a single person.
Boiling and then pan-frying them.
I sounds disgusting, I know. How could any protein taste good after a boil in water? But hear me out: I’m not suggesting you boil the chicken wings to until they resemble pink rubber erasers. No, definitely not. Only until they’re partially cooked, allowing for a shorter cook time and crispier skin after the pan-fry. It’s genius, really (I’m a genius, really). See below for more detailed suggestions. You’ll get what I mean.
The Best Way to Cook Chicken Wings (if you’re a single person)
If you bought untrimmed chicken wings, go ahead and cut them into wings and drummettes for easy eating. Apparently you can save the wing tips to make chicken stock, but you would seriously need 15+lbs of chicken tips to make anything substantial. If you bought yourself a set of drumsticks or pre-cut wings, you are living the single-person dream. Did you also happen to buy them at a Whole Foods?
If you’re not into eating more fat than half chicken wing, don’t be afraid to trim some of it off. Sure the texture when you pan sear them later won’t be the same, but a chicken wing with skin is about 100 calories, a chicken wing without…approximately 60. You can do the math. I did it, and tossed out some chicken wing skin.
Boil the chicken wings in salted water for about 1.5 minutes. It should essentially look unappetizing when you pull it back out. Ideally, there should no longer be any blood seeping through the phone or meat. Pat dry after removal. The extra moisture on the surface of the chicken wing will cause the frying oil to splatter.
Take a frying pan and lightly coat with a vegetable/canola oil. They have higher smoking point than olive oils, so it makes for a crispier chicken wing. When the oil is heated and ready to go, start searing a couple of chicken wings. Don’t be afraid to use a pot cover to help the frying oil from burning your delicate skin. Searing should only take about 2 minutes on each side.
Pair with a variety of sauces or just eat them out of the pan-frier. I’ll list sauce recipes in another upcoming post.