Here’s a real two-fer recipe. The wings are quite different from those “Buffalo” ones that send fire down your throat. There is garlic heat here, but there is a delightful Mediterranean twist of lemon and allspice. This recipe comes from Saffron in the Souks, a new cookbook showing the brilliance of Lebanese cooking.

And the second half of the two-fer? This Cilantro and Pistachio Pesto which you will make over and over again. No basil here. A thoroughly different and refreshing flavor. This pesto can be mated with anything: poultry, beef, fish … It’s a go-to recipe, so start adding to your pistachio collection.

Garlic Chicken Wings with Cilantro and Pistachio Pesto

Yield: serves 4 as part of a meze plate


For the wings:

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • Juice of½ lemon _
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 18 ounces chicken wings
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Sea salt

For the pesto:

  • 1 tablespoon pistachios
  • 2 handfuls of roughly chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil sea salt


Bash the garlic with a little salt into a paste and tip into a large mixing bowl. Add the allspice, lemon, and yogurt and mix well. Tip in the chicken wings and toss together so that the marinade coats the chicken completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425°F and take the wings out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature. Pour the olive oil over the wings and mix well. Transfer to a roasting pan and roast for 35-40 minutes until golden and gnarly.

Meanwhile, bash the pistachios and cilantro into a rough paste. Pour in the vinegar and olive oil and season with a pinch of salt. Mix this together really well and serve immediately alongside the wings.

Source: Saffron in the Souk by John Gregory-Smith [Kyle, 2019]

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/3.5 for 1/30th second at ISO‑320