I first saw these fennel grilled chicken wings served in a tapas bar called Urtau in Arties, Spain just down the mountain from the Pyrenean ski resort of Baqueira. It's the premier resort in Spain and the skiing's good but don't go there for the atmosphere....it's dire.
That said DO visit Spain for the food and if ever you happen to be in the area, do check out the bar Urtau in Arties because it is really well worth it (that's the bar...not the restaurant). Just check out this array of tapas!
My wife picked a couple of the fennel grilled chicken wings off the bar and let her taste buds break out the individual flavours, the aniseed immediately came to the fore.
The next day I was straight down to the supermarket to buy the necessary ingredients and try and repeat it on my grill. I’m not sure whether it was supreme skill or the lucky guess work of a hapless amateur BBQ chef but I think I got it pretty much bob on first time round.
Note: I also demonstrated my amateur credentials further by shooting these photos when I could have prepared my wings better. The wing can be segregated into 3 parts, 2 which are meaty and the third (the wing tip) which has nothing worth eating on it.
To prepare your wings for the grill, take a knife and cut off the tip because all they serve to do is get tangled in the cooking grate and make turning them over more fiddly. If you want you can save the tips for stock but other than that, they don't add value to any grilled chicken wings recipe.
Serves:- 4 people
Preparation Time:- 10 minutes
Cooking Time:- 20 minutes
Total Time:- 30 minutes
First of all, remove the wing tips with a sharp knife...doh!
Pop the fennel seeds into a pestle and mortar with the salt, gently grind the seeds up and then mix in the dried thyme.
Lay the wings out on a tray and rub in a small amount of olive oil as this will help the rub to stick then sprinkle on the rub and work it into the wings.
I've read a lot about techniques for cooking chicken wings and frankly I think sometimes we over complicate things.
Chicken wings aren't the thickest pieces of meat but you do want to ensure that the meat is cooked through to the bone. Get your grill up to a medium setting and cook directly for about 20 minutes turning regularly. This way the chicken cooks through, the salt in the rub will crisp the skin without scorching it and just breathe in that aroma!
You're looking for crispy golden brown skin, a core temperature near the bone of 82.2°C or 180°F then there's no time like the present so serve immediately. Finger food doesn't get any better than this.