I was asked a few years ago to join a team of chefs to help Nestlé create new dishes for Lean Cuisine. After developing a complex 15-ingredient spice blend, sometimes I like to take a break making something simple like Ayala, which contains the classic combination of salt, pepper and rosemary—a trio that always tastes great with chicken.
Ayala N16 – Recipe from Lucien Vendome and the Nestlé Culinary Team, from “The Art of Blending” by Lior Lev Sercarz
Makes 6-8 appetizer servings
3 tablespoons Ayala N.16 spice blend
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
2½ pounds chicken wings
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Ayala N.16 spice blend
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 roasted red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons honey
½ cup mayonnaise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Marinate the wings: In a mixing bowl, whisk 3 tablespoons of Ayala with the olive oil, lemon juice and honey. Add the chicken wings and toss to coat with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Make the aioli: In a skillet, heat olive oil over low heat. Add the Ayala spice, red pepper flakes, and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the roasted pepper and honey and cook for 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and let cool.
3. Place the mayonnaise in the bowl of a food processor or blender and add the cooled vegetable mixture. Process until smooth and season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Preheat the oven to 425°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread the chicken wings on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, then turn over and roast for 15 minutes longer or until the wings are golden brown and cooked through. Serve with the aioli for dipping.