the appetizer:

Tapas by Penelope Casas, the authority on tapas and Spanish cuisine, has been updated, with recipes like Fried Goat Cheese with Onion Confit, Vegetable and Goat Cheese "Lasagna", and Fried Beer-Marinated Chicken Wings with Salsa Brava.

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Fried Beer-Marinated Chicken Wings
with Salsa Brava

Alitas de Pollo Marinadas en Cerveza con Salsa Brava

Fried Chicken Wings with Salsa Brava
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Serves 8 (Makes 18-24)

In my student days fried chicken wings were favorites of mine at a long-gone little bar at the entrance to the Plaza Mayor in Madrid. Recently I rediscovered chicken wings at another tapas bar that I had forgotten, Las Bravas, whose claim to fame is its salsa brava, a spicy sauce traditionally served over fried potatoes (the place, so they claim, where patatas bravas originated), as well as with fried chicken wings. So proud are they of their salsa brava that on the wall behind the bar and on a sign over the entrance these words appear: "Sauce with patent number 357942."

Marinating the wings first in beer, as suggested by Annie, an American married to a Spaniard and living in Madrid, whom I met through the Internet, makes these wings superior, I think, to those at Las Bravas. Since the sauce ingredients are top secret, I reproduced the taste through my own devices and am more than satisfied with the results. But be advised that piquillo peppers instead of ordinary pimientos will give a far superior flavor. Start preparation a day in advance

Salsa Brava

Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl. Add the wings, cover, and refrigerate overnight or longer.

To make the salsa brava, place all ingredients in a food processor and puree as smooth as possible. Reserve (this will keep for weeks refrigerated).

Heat the oil to 350 degrees F, preferably in a deep fryer. (Otherwise pour oil to a depth of at least 1 inch in a skillet, and heat until the oil quickly browns a cube of bread.) Remove the wings from the marinade, drain on paper towels, then dredge in flour. Fry the wings in several batches until golden brown for 6-10 minutes, depending on the size of the wings, turning once. Drain on paper towels. [May be kept warm in a 200 degrees F oven for up to 30 minutes.] Serve with a bowl of the sauce to dip the wings.


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This page created March 2007