These Strawberry Balsamic Baked Wings are baked, not fried and so easy. They're also outrageously delicious so be sure to make plenty!
Before I tell you about these Strawberry Balsamic Baked Wings, would you allow me to crow just a teeny bit?
I'm kind of proud of myself. If you're a long time follower of The Café, you might recall that I'm
kind of a sports moron. To be honest, I've really never paid much attention to organized sports. Might be because my head's forever stuck in the kitchen or it might just be that the "athletic" lobe of my brain is missing. I'm not sure which, but nevertheless, it's an arena of life I tend to not pay much attention to.
I guess some of you (football fans) might frown on me, but before your opinion drops too low, I have some news that may redeem this old girl a bit. Are you ready? I've actually been thinking about the Super Bowl for weeks. Yes, weeks! Although in years gone by, I've often been out of touch regarding the big game, this year I actually looked up the date. Way back at the beginning of January. Have I gained any brownie points yet? Not many? Well, it gets better, way better!
I checked out the Super Bowl date because I wanted to create something wonderful for you - whether you're a sports fan or not. Why? Because even if you're like me, and not particularly super excited about sports, there's something wonderful about gathering together with family and/or friends for a festive occasion. And festive occasions always call for food, right? Great food!
Which brings me to the delicious point of this conversation; Strawberry Balsamic baked Wings. I've been working on the recipe for a few weeks in anticipation of the Super Bowl and... ta da! They're ready for you, in perfect time for the big game.
I thought wings had to be fried to be really good and the thought of fried wings didn't appeal to me. But I decided to experiment and see if I could come up with a really fun and delicious recipe for baked wings. There were lots of recipes online and I tried a couple but didn't have spectacular results, so I came up with my own version.
The flavor profile for these Baked Wings is an old friend. It comes from one of our earlier recipes, the first one that seemed to go viral, our Strawberry Balsamic Pizza with Chicken and Applewood Bacon.
It was in the early days when I thought the only people who read the blog were my family and a few friends. Then one day, this recipe went crazy, and it wasn't long before I was getting emails from people around the globe who were trying it and loving it. When they wrote, they always said something like, "It sounded like a strange combination of flavors at first... but we loved it!" It's still one of our favorite pizzas of all time.
These Strawberry Balsamic Baked Wings also call for strawberry jam combined with a splash of balsamic vinegar with the additional flavors of soy sauce and fresh ginger. It took a few trials but finally, my taste testers declared the glaze perfect! I had to play around a bit with the baking technique as I wanted a deep, flavorful, mahogany-hued glaze. In the end, I brined the wings for an hour, then baked them in a hot oven and applied the glaze several times near the end. I think you'll find the recipe simple and not too time-consuming. They're sweet, salty, spicy, sticky and succulent, all rolled in one!
Café Tips for making these Strawberry Balsamic Baked Wings
- In addition to being a super tasty little finger food, these baked wings are also great as a dinner entree. I've been serving them with jasmine rice and a salad or green veggie for a wonderful meal.
- Brining keeps the wings juicy and tender and adds seasoning all the way through. If you're in a big rush, however, just skip the brining process. The wings will still be very good.
- These baked wings are sticky, so don't skip the parchment paper. I love these pre-cut sheets of parchment paper. They aren't expensive and a box will last forever. They come in a nice flat container for easy storage.
- Look for the reddest, prettiest jam you can find. Don't use a jam that's main ingredient is strawberry juice. You want the real deal! I like to use homemade strawberry freezer jam or Bonne Maman.
Oh, by the way, you can pretend you don't know me but... who is it that's playing in the Super Bowl??
Just teasing, this is the one year I do know. I'm a Carolina girl, after all!
- For the brine:
- 1 ½ quart cool water
- 4 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- For the chicken:
- 3 pounds uncooked chicken wings
- freshly ground black pepper
- For the glaze:
- 1 ¼ cup strawberry jam*
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 3 medium garlic cloves finely minced
- 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger or ginger paste
- 2 teaspoons Sriacha sauce**
- For garnishing:
- sesame seeds for garnish
- finely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
To prepare the brine, combine the water, kosher salt and sugar in a large bowl. Stir for 30 seconds to 1 minute till salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Add chicken wings, cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
While wings are brining, prepare the sauce. Combine all sauce ingredients in a medium size pan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a very low, but constant simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then set aside to cool.
Line one sheet pan with several thicknesses of paper towels and another with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 425.
Drain chicken well, then spread out on the paper towel-lined sheet pan. Pat dry with more paper towels. Allow to sit on paper towels for another 10 minutes, then discard paper towels and transfer wings to the parchment paper lined pan. (You want the wings as dry as possible.)
Spread wing pieces out on the parchment lined sheet pan so that pieces are not touching. Sprinkle liberally with freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 15 minutes then flip with a tongs to opposite side and bake another 15 minutes.
Remove wings from the oven and increase oven temperature to 475˚F.
Transfer 5 tablespoons of the sauce to a large bowl. Transfer wings to bowl and toss to coat. Discard parchment paper and any accumulated grease.
Line a sheet pan with foil (for easy clean up) and set a wire cooling rack in the pan (or on top of pan). Spray wire rack liberally with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from oven and brush ribs liberally with sauce. Return to oven for another 5 minutes then repeat brushing with sauce. If wings are not deeply mahogany-hued, repeat brushing with glaze and 5 minutes in the oven one more time.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, then sprinkle with finely chopped cilantro or parsley. Serve and enjoy!
** Sriracha is a delicious Asian hot sauce that is readily available in most larger grocery stores.