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Fusion recipe: Spicy pesto glazed chicken wings

01/01/2013 06:20PM ● Published by Aimee Cormier

These pesto chicken wings are spicy, savory, crunchy, tender, and just plain delicious.

Using familiar flavors and ingredients in different ways is at the heart of fusion cooking.  These Spicy Pesto Glazed Chicken Wings will be the start attraction at your next football party or any gathering at all.

Wings a plenty

Football season is at its peak right now.  With the college ranks playing bowl games and the NFL starting the playoffs, football parties will be a commonplace.  As you well know it just isn’t football without chicken wings.

These wings have a pronounced pesto flavor highlighted by a subtle sweetness from the honey, spiciness from the cayenne, and a welcomed citrus flavor that is excellent with the chicken.

The crispness from the skin along with the tender meat provides the perfect contrast of textures. 

This recipe came to me while I was looking in my refrigerator for ingredients to another chicken wings recipe I was preparing.  I love it when that happens.

Pesto in the winter?

Pesto is thought of as a summer time recipe when basil, the main ingredient, is at its peak.  But thanks to the good people at Classico, who also make my favorite jarred pasta sauce, we can enjoy pesto year around.  Not only is Classico Pesto Sauce convenient, but it tastes great.  It’s so good in fact that sometimes even when my basil is in season I will grab of jar of Classico to save me the trouble of making fresh pesto.  Yeah, it’s that good.

Note:  This recipe calls for deep frying.  If you do not have a deep fryer, simply use a deep pan or Dutch oven with 3-4" of canola oil and a frying thermometer.

Serves 6-8 people.


10lbs.    Split chicken wings

All-purpose seasoning

Kosher salt

1lb.         Unsalted butter

2jars      Classico Pesto Sauce

3tbsp     Local honey

2tsp       Ground cayenne pepper

2              Fresh lemons (juiced)

3C           All-purpose flour

2-3C       Grated parmesan cheese


Heat the fryer to 375º

Liberally season the chicken wings with all-purpose seasoning to taste.

Add 2-3 tbsp of all-purpose seasoning to the flour and stir to combine.

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter; add the pesto, honey, cayenne, and 1tbsp of all-purpose seasoning, and bring to a simmer.

Simmer for 2 minutes, remove from the heat, and add the lemon juice.

Dust 12-16 wings in the seasoned flour, and fry for 10-12 minutes.

Note: Do not crowd your fryer, or pan.  Adjust the number of wings to fry according to the size of your fryer.

Remove to a paper towel lined sheet pan, and then transfer to a large bowl.

Immediately dust with 2-3 tbsp of parmesan cheese and toss.

Coat with pesto sauce mixture and serve.

Repeat for the remainder of the wings.

Be sure to keep these coming as you guests will be begging for more.

Stay hungry.

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