Jalapeño-Brined Air Fryer Chicken Wings with Northern Carolina-Style Coleslaw
By Heidi Allison
Everyone needs a “go-to” summer recipe that takes less than 15 minutes to get on the table, and, this easy, hot-weather meal doesn't disappoint. The crispy, air-fried chicken wings are brined in the vinegar from a can of pickled Mexican jalapeños, carrots and onions (escabeche), and couldn’t be easier! If brined for 2-3 hours, the chicken meat takes on hints of the flavor of the marinade, but is not spicy. After 5 hours, you begin to get some heat. I like it at 24 hours…Ouch!
The chicken skin in this dish transforms into something you’ll daydream about: a reddish-golden color and crispy texture that crackles when you bite into it a—tastes every bit as good as fried chicken, but, without the calories, fat, or mess of frying in hot oil. You really do need to use an air fryer to get that addictive crackling skin— set the machine at 400°F, but, watch the time, since brined wings cook a bit faster. These wings are done in 9-10 minutes, instead of the usual 15 minutes for conventional wings.
The coleslaw is a lighter take on another American summer fave—it’s made without mayo or sour cream— a great dish to serve on a hot summer day since no refrigeration is needed. Its flavor is a nod to those iconic North Carolina slaws that forego diary and mayo dressings in lieu of a lighter and sweeter taste, which comes from the boiled vinegar and sugar dressings. In this dish, Dijon mustard, celery seed and a hint of fresh lemon juice add complexity and depth, while the traditional Carolinian’s copious amounts of oil and sugar have been reined in. Top with nutty, toasted black sesame seeds for added flavor and textural crunch.
Makes: 1/2 cup
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
3 Tbs. sugar
3 Tbs. neutral vegetable oil (canola, sunflower or grape seed)
1 tsp. celery seed
2 1/2 tsp. yellow mustard powder (I prefer Coleman’s)
1 heaping tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. kosher flake salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs. toasted black sesame seeds (optional)
In a non-aluminum 8-inch skillet, add vinegar, sugar, oil, mustards and celery seed. Heat on medium heat until boiling, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly for 1-2 minutes. Add salt and pepper and stir to combine. Taste and adjust salt to taste. Add fresh lemon juice and stir to combine. Pour over cabbage and carrots, toss and cover. Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
1 head medium organic cabbage, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch matchsticks
2 green onions, green part only, thinly sliced
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, minced
In a large bowl, add cabbage and carrots. Pour hot dressing over veggies and toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, best eaten immediately.
Right before serving, add freshly sliced green onion and minced parsley and toss again. Top with sesame seeds. Use a large slotted spoon for serving the slaw since a fair amount of juice will be at the bottom of the bowl. Serve with Spicy Jalapeño-Brined Air Fryer Chicken Wings
Spicy Jalapeño-Brined Air Fryer Chicken Wings
10 organic chicken wings (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1 26 oz. can of Mexican pickled jalapeños with carrots and onions (escabeche)
1 tsp. pink sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Place chicken wings in a 9”x13” glass dish. Pour pickling brine from can over wings. Remove about half of the picked chilies and take off stem. Roughly chop chilies and place on top of wings. Cover glass dish with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, best for at least 8 hours.
Remove wings from pickling brine and pat dry. Allow to air dry about 15 minutes, then place in air fryer tray and sprinkle with pink sea salt and black pepper. Set temperature at 400°F and cook for 9 minutes. Check if juice runs clear; serve immediately.