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These chicken wings have a sauce with staying power
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Chicken wings with browned butter-spinach
Chicken wings napped with a browned butter-spinach sauce work as a starter or a main.

Michael Schwartz, the Miami-based chef of the award-winning Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, is exploring classical fine dining at his newly opened restaurant, The Cypress Room. In a genteel nod to the restaurant's location, The Cypress Room's menu also capitalizes on the bounty and history of South Florida--even featuring frogs' legs, napped with a garlic-infused brown butter-and-spinach sauce. Most home cooks are not jumping at the chance to cook frog, so we adapted Schwartz's recipe for that snack-time staple, chicken wings. The dish's spirit is the same, but chicken wings may never have had it so good.

Chicken Wings with Brown Butter-and-Spinach Sauce

Recipe adapted from Michael Schwartz, Cypress Room, Miami

Yield: 4 servings (as an appetizer)

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

Ice

2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1 cup packed baby spinach leaves or roughly chopped large spinach leaves

1 stick unsalted butter

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

8 chicken wings

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

¼ cup canola oil

½ lemon

2 tablespoons brine-packed capers, rinsed

2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 cups watercress, tough ends removed

Directions

1. To a large bowl, add the ice and cover with cold water. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and the spinach and blanch until the spinach is tender and tears easily, about 2 minutes. Use a skimmer or slotted spoon to transfer the spinach to the ice-water bath to cool. Strain the spinach into a fine-mesh sieve, then squeeze as much liquid as possible from the spinach.

2. To a small skillet set over medium heat, add the butter. Melt, swirling the pan occasionally, until the white solids turn golden and the butter smells nutty, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until the garlic turns golden-brown, about 30 seconds.

3. Pour the garlic-browned butter into a blender. Add the spinach and blend on high speed until the mixture is completely smooth, about 1 minute. Add ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper and blend to combine.

4. To a large bowl, add the chicken wings and the flour and toss to coat. In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, add the oil. Add the chicken wings and cook the wings until the sides in contact with the pan are golden-brown, about 3 minutes. Turn the wings over and brown the other side, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Squeeze the juice from the lemon half over the wings. Season with the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, the remaining ¼ teaspoon of pepper, the capers and the parsley. Stir to combine. Divide the watercress among 4 plates. Top each with 2 chicken wings, the spinach sauce and some of the lemon-caper pan sauce, and serve.

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