I am a very tactile eater. When faced with menu options or cooking for friends, my primitive instinct will always be to cook something I can eat with my hands.
There’s just something so comforting about hand to mouth eating, it takes out the middle man maybe? It’s an independent ‘who needs a fork?!’ kind of rebellion and a bit of rebellion will do you good from time to time.
I think this may be why I used to bite my nails as a child. I also bite my pen lids. If it’s in my hand, I want to bite it. It’s an oral fixation!
Whatever the root cause is, chicken wings are always my go-to when I want comfort. This particular recipe is one I have been making for years. When I want chicken on the bone, I tend to opt for my Bisquicken recipe, which is still one of the most viewed recipes on this blog. However that recipe is more of a factory line up with the egg and the whole big, whereas this recipe uses the buttermilk as it’s coating binder and goes from bowl to oven. So it’s my lazy version, essentially.
This Buttermilk Ritz version is also the calling card for when I want my chicken more about texture than taste as this method retains the soft, pillowyness of the chicken but amps up the crunch.
It’s a very, very simple recipe and doesn’t require much from you other than a few dips, a few coats and a little shake.
Fill a big bowl with enough milk to bathe a big handful of chicken wings in. Drop 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and allow the milk to thicken. Now add a few drops of your favourite hot sauce (mine will forever and always be Franks) and add a little salt and pepper. Submerge your chicken wings into the milk, cover the bowl and allow the chicken to marinade for up to an hour (or overnight in the fridge).
When you’re ready to eat, preheat the oven to 200c. Get a box of Ritz crackers and bash them up to a fine dust and empty into your widest bowl. To this add a teaspoon of paprika, a tiny dab of nutmeg and a tiny pinprick of cayenne pepper.
Once your chicken has finished marinading, take each piece and dunk it in the Ritz dust. I tend to put all the chicken in at once (if the bowl is big enough) and use my hands to toss them all about in the cracker dust, just to make sure everything is properly coated.
Once the chicken have their spicy, wintery coat on, place them all on a large baking sheet and slide into the oven for 35-40 minutes until the skin is crispy on the edges.
I serve with nothing more than a salad, some tomato salsa, some chopped chives and an ice cold beer.