Featured recipe: Spicy Ginger Lime Wings with Scallions

It’s not football that I love; it’s my hometown. For years I’ve been listening to my fellow Philadelphians lament the heartbreak that is football season with the Eagles. That is up until last year. A good season, followed by a key player’s injury, followed by triumph for the underdogs! Winning the championship and just making it to the Super Bowl might have been enough for some fans, but we won! We took that Super Bowl LII from the Patriots, turning the city into a raucous sea of green. This year was looking to be a repeat of that same excitement, complete with starting quarterback Carson Wentz suffering an injury and “Saint” Nick Foles being called upon to lead us to another victory. And then the Saints happened. It was a great first quarter, followed by 3 frustrating ones and just like that, the title was lost. The Philadelphia dream was over…for 2019 anyway. Until next year birds fans.

I’m just here for the food

The way sports affect the city is a sort of solidarity that even non-sports fans can revel in. It’s comforting and inclusive. The excitement is contagious. It’s the perfect reason for a party. This year we might not be in the game, but we’ll still cook and eat like we are. As usual, I’m just here for the food. This year the MVP will go to a new recipe for chicken wings. I wanted something other than the usual buffalo wings that will no doubt be delivered all over the city on Sunday. Instead, we’ll enjoy a new take on hot wings with a recent recipe I’ve concocted that combines the flavors of ginger, lime and jalapeno mixed with scallions and served alongside blue cheese, cucumbers and celery.

It’s a pretty straight forward recipe that requires just a little prep in advance. It’s best to let the wings rest in the seasoning before they go into the oven. Since you know what time the game starts, you can easily work backwards. Allow about 20 minutes for chopping and another 30-60 minutes to let the wings marinate and come to room temperature before cooking. The exact cook time will depend on your oven, but figure roughly 30 minutes give or take. The recipe is for two people but you can easily increase the quantities.

Food was inextricably linked to sports in my early experience

Other than last year, the only time I remember really celebrating football was in 1980 when the Eagles made it to the championship and that alone was reason enough for Philadelphia to celebrate. Sadly, we lost to the Dallas Cowboys. Even as a young, not particularly interested in football kid, I understood the rivalry and the expectation that I would never be a Dallas fan. I can still picture the event. I was about 9. I had the dreadful Dorothy Hamill haircut. I was wearing a velour green skirt with matching sweater and I was across the street at the Morelli’s with my parents. I wish I could remember the food instead of my tragic fashion statement of that year. Even then, I was only there for the food, which I know was much better than my outfit.

Food was inextricably linked to sports in my early experience. I’m sure it was a spread that would rival some holiday meals. I’m also pretty certain it wasn’t beer and wings or anything stereo typically game day. I promise you there was wine in proper wine glasses and most likely an array of dried sausage and other Italian specialties. I love that American events were always colored by my Italian heritage. I love it now. Back then I was always a little embarrassed and worried someone would find out that we did things differently.

I’m still not as sports savvy as I always wanted to be

But just like any other living room in Philadelphia that afternoon, there was much yelling and screaming by my favorite armchair quarterbacks, my dad and his best friend and neighbor, Corado. They were two Italian guys who loved American sports enough to celebrate all games the best way they knew how…with Italian food and lots of it!

I learned so much about food and cooking as a kid in my mom’s Italian kitchen. And I’ve learned almost as much since I’ve had my own kitchen. I wish I could say the same for sports. I’m still not as sports savvy as I always wanted to be. The problem was probably obvious. I was always only there for the food.

For Superbowl Sunday I’ve discovered it’s perfectly acceptable to drink beer and eat wings! If you agree, then this is the recipe for you. You don’t need delivery this weekend. Try this new take on hot wings.  Serve them with a crisp, low ABV pilsner and you’re ready for four quarters of game time. In ‘football’ time that could take awhile so make plenty.