March Madness Munchies

With the NCAA Final 4 just around the corner, I'm anticipating get-togethers with friends to watch the final big games (my money is on underdog UCLA). Since sporting matches always call for comfort, stick-to-your-ribs fare, I scouted out some killer recipes that go hand-in-hand with an edge-of-your-seat evening.

Emeril Lagasse, 2002

2 1/2 pounds chicken wings, tips removed and cut in half at joint, rinsed and wiped dry
1/2 cup red hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups vegetable oil, for frying
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce, recipe follows

In a large shallow, non-reactive bowl combine the chicken, hot sauce, pepper, and salt, and toss well to combine. Cover the chicken with plastic wrap, refrigerate, and let marinate, for at least 1 hour, and up to 3 hours. In a heavy pot, heat the oil to 360 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and 2 tablespoons Essence. Remove the chicken from the marinade and add to the flour 1 at a time, tossing to coat evenly. Add the chicken in 2 batches to the hot oil and cook, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the chicken wings from the fryer with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with the remaining Essence and serve immediately with Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup

Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce:

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup heavy cream

8 ounces blue cheese

1 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire

1/2 teaspoon salt

Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process on high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour into a decorative bowl.

Enjoy with friends!

1 comment