Like American politics, the popular sentiment regarding using nuts in cooking seems to be evenly divided: You either like nuts in your food or you hate the idea. Whether you are talking about Chinese dishes, the Thanksgiving stuffing, or the crust on your Dover sole, some people just don’t enjoy nuts in their food. I happen to think that adding the flavor and texture of nuts to poultry—especially succulent, crunchy almonds—makes for an undeniably more flavorful experience.
Wash the wings, pat them dry, and toss them in the flour. Shake off excess flour and set aside. In a medium-size bowl, combine the eggs and milk and whisk until the eggs are slightly beaten. In a blender or food processor, grind the almonds until they are fine. Place in a large mixing bowl. In a blender or food processor grind the white bread until fine. Add the crumbs to the almonds and stir in the salt and orange zest. Dip the wings in the egg mixture, then dredge in the almond-bread mixture until well coated. Set the wings on a shallow ungreased baking pan. Fry the wings according to one of the methods described on page 16.
To make the plum sauce, heat the plum jam in a small saucepan over medium heat until melted. Stir in remaining plum sauce ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Serve the wings hot with the warm plum dipping sauce on the side.
30 chicken wings, disjointed and small wing joint removed
11⁄2 cups flour
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups milk
11⁄2 cups blanched whole almonds
10 slices stale white bread, crusts removed
2 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons grated orange zest
Oil for deep-frying
1 cup plum jam
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger
1⁄2 teaspoon crushed anise seeds
1⁄4 teaspoon mustard powder
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄8 teaspoon ground cloves
1⁄8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
[This recipe originally appeared in Wing It! (Clarkson Potter)]