It is a truth universally acknowledged that the odds of eating chicken wings at a Super Bowl party are about as great as the chances of seeing those Budweiser Clydesdales clip clop across your screen. Whether you’re watching at a bar, at a friend’s house, or in the comfort of your own home, we know what’ll be on your plate as the Seahawks and Patriots takes the field.
But predictable as that culinary scenario may be, there’s no reason why you can’t serve up a new, slightly more nutritious interpretation on an old classic at this year’s shindig—with the surprisingly chic decor to match. The same can be said for the rest of your Game Day menu. “I like to serve something that’s definitely male- and football-friendly but light enough that you can dive right in,” says Marissa Lippert, owner of Nourish Kitchen + Table, in New York City. “That way you’re not doing three slices of pizza and completely blowing yourself out of the water.” Her solution: a sweet and tangy Asian-inspired wing that is baked, not fried, and features fresh, unexpected flavors such as hoisin sauce, tamari, and scallions. It’s no wonder she calls them the “best damn chicken wings you’ll ever eat.”
In keeping with the healthful theme, Lippert created a host of alternatives to some of our favorite Super Bowl party staples, including a generous crudité plate to replace your ranch and veggie version, starring a luscious beet-and-feta dip. Spicy pimento cheese-topped crostini and decadent salt-flecked chocolate chip cookies complete the spread. “It’s a deceptively balanced spread that helps you sneak in healthful options without realizing it.”
Still, no football viewing party is complete without beer. We turned to the pros at Bierkraft—a specialty shop in Brooklyn, New York, that sources more than 600 different brews from all over the world—to help find the perfect accompaniment for each dish in Lippert’s menu.
To start, Bierkraft’s head chef Ryan Huntley and cellar manager Sam Lance chose a sweet yet smoky Freigeist Hoppeditz to counter the salt of the pimento cheese; they followed that up with Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale, a Japanese pale ale-style beer that pairs well with the beet dip. “It’s got a tiny bit of sweetness and a hint of malt, which brings out the sharpness of the feta,” says Huntley. As for those wings? They selected Gigantic IPA, a hoppy pale ale with just a little bit of bite. “IPAs in general pair extremely well with the bold flavors in most Asian cuisine.” For dessert, the Tom Green Beer by Beau’s Brewing Company proved a creamy, malty counterpoint to the dark chocolate in the cookies.
With the main elements in place, all that was left to do was to act like the true professionals we are and taste each beer with its intended accompaniment. (Hey, it's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it.) The verdict: deeply, satisfyingly delicious. At last, a Super Bowl menu we're equally proud to serve to the both the bros and the cool girls who love them. Cheers!