Wings up for the playoffs!

The home-state team isn’t in the NFL playoffs, but I’m thrilled to see the New Orleans Saints as one of the final four still playing for a Super Bowl spot. (I was pulling for the San Diego Chargers and quarterback Phillip Rivers, formerly of N.C. State University, but no luck there.)

Why New Orleans? It feels good for the city to have something to cheer about after all it has been through and is still struggling with. And my real interest: Food. If the Saints make to to the Super Bowl on Feb. 7, that will mean a great theme for party menus. Jambalaya, gumbo, bread pudding, and the wonderful food goes on and on.

But the team has to get there first. And viewers need to be well fed for the marathon of football-watching on Jan. 24. Wings are the classic choice of hungry sports fans everywhere. They’re easy to make, whether fiery hot or mild-but-flavorful.

As I found out when writing my cookbook, “Wings: More Than 50 High-Flying Recipes for America’s Favorite Snack” (John Wiley & Sons, 2009) the weeks coming up to the Super Bowl is the biggest time of year for wings sales, so shop before your supermarket runs out. It’s easy to save a little money by cutting up the wings yourself. Simply cut at the two joints with a sharp knife or kitchen shears. Put the little pointy ends – technically called the flappers – in a bag in the freezer for making chicken broth later on.

This wing recipe from my book is plenty hot, but if you want more flame, increase the amount of the Thai chili-garlic sauce. Look for the sauce in Asian markets or in well-stocked supermarkets.

Tangy Thai Wings

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons Thai chili-garlic sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

2 teaspoons honey

12 wings, cut in half at joints, wing tips removed and discarded

Combine the oil, lime juice, garlic sauce, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and honey in a bowl and stir until the honey is dissolved.

Place the wings in a resealable plastic bag. Pour the giner mixture over the wings and shake to coat. Refrigerate for 2 hours or as long as overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Remove the wings from the marinade and discard the marinade. Place the wings on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until done.

Recipe from “Wings: More Than 50 High-Flying Recipes for America’s Favorite Snack” by Debbie Moose (John Wiley & Sons, 2009)