Buffalo-Style Chicken Wings

I’ve never eaten the buffalo wings at Parrot’s Cay in Grand Forks. But I hope to soon.

I’d heard good things about the Cay’s wings and even considered giving them a try. The only thing holding me back was that the Cay allowed smoking and having given up that habit years ago, I’ve forgone visiting establishments that allowed it.

Well, things have changed. Since Aug. 15, Grand Forks has been smoke-free, so I don’t have an excuse anymore. And with the national recognition that the Cay received recently, I may go there sooner rather than later.

As reported in Wednesday’s Herald by staff writer Ryan Johnson (www.grandforksherald.com/event/article/id/174739/), Parrot’s Cay earned national bragging rights Sunday for its Shark Sauce, a combination of its buffalo wing sauce and its barbecue sauce, at the National Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, N.Y. Buffalo wings, it’s said, originated at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, so I guess that why they hold the festival there.

The Cay was one of 38 establishments that entered the contest. The Shark Sauce took first place in the creative barbecue category. The restaurant will find out in a few days if it also won any other awards.

The idea for the festival came from a move called “Osmosis Jones,” which starred Bill Murray as a compulsive eater with the goal of attending the Super Bowl of junk food, the National Buffalo Wing Festival. Ironically, the festival’s website said, there wasn’t such an event.

That’s when a native Buffalonian, Drew Cerza, came up with the idea of having one. The festival debuted in 2002. Cerza now is affectionately know as the “Wing King.”

For those of you who would like to try your hand at making wings, here’s a recipe, complete with a blue cheese dressing dipping sauce, that looks mighty tasty.

Buffalo-Style Chicken Wings
Peanut oil for frying
3 pounds chicken wings, washed, patted dry
½ cup favorite red hot pepper sauce
½ cup butter, melted
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
Heat about 3 inches of the peanut oil in a deep-fryer or deep pot to 375 degrees. (Alternatively, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.)
Working in batches, deep-fry the chicken wings about 10 to 12 minutes or until they are cooked through. Remove them from the hot oil and drain them on paper towels. Or, instead of frying, place the wings on a baking sheet and bake them, turning them halfway through baking, about 50 minutes to 1 hour or until cooked through.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the red hot pepper sauce, butter, garlic powder and seasoned salt.
Toss the cooked wings in the sauce.
If desired, you can place the sauced wings on a baking sheet and place them in a 400-degree oven for about 8-10 minutes to crisp them.
Yield: Serves 4.
Note: These wings can be served with Spicy Blue Cheese Dressing (see recipe follows).
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 587 calories, 76 percent of calories from fat, 49 grams fat (21 gram saturated), 4 grams carbohydrates, 32 grams protein, 1,228 milligrams sodium, 158 millirams cholesterol, 27 milligrams calcium, 0.5 grams fiber.

Spicy Blue Cheese Dressing
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
4 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon lemon juice
A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium bowl mash the blue cheese with the buttermilk; the mixture should look like cottage cheese.
Stir in the sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, garlic powder, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and, if you like, the cayenne pepper. The mixture should be semi-smooth, yet with small lumps of blue cheese.
Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper to taste.
Note: This will keep up to two weeks if it’s covered in the refrigerator.
Yield: About 1 cup.
Approximate nutritional analysis per 1 tablespoon serving: 28 calories, 72 percent of calories from fat, 2 grams fat (1 gram saturated), 1 gram carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 93 milligrams sodium, 6 milligrams cholesterol, 36 milligrams calcium, no fiber.