Garlic Knots (1988)

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Sun Sep 7 22:51:36 UTC 2003

   I re-checked CUE's annual Long Island Dining Guide for the 1960s and 1970s, but I didn't see "garlic knots."
   ProQuest has signed an agreement to do NEWSDAY (eventually); NEWSDAY's current achives are to 1985 only.
   FACTIVA wasn't available to me at NYU (thanks, NYU), but it's here at Columbia.  The 1978 article perhaps is not the knot we know.

An aromatic welcome to world garlic capital
Nino Lo Bello
665 words
18 November 1978
The Globe and Mail
All material copyright Thomson Canada Limited or its licensors. All rights reserved.

To get to the Garlic Capital of the world, you don't need a road map. Just follow your nose . .

Here in this tiny village of 3,000 garlic growers, some four hours north of Paris near the Belgian border, garlic is passionately revered for its character and taste. Let it be said that if you have an anti-garlic prejudice, do your tourism in this garlicky hub and learn why Arleux scorns the scorners of the Lilicea, genus Allium sativum.

Yes, you better believe it - garlic is a member of the lily family, along with onions, scallions, chives and leeks. The wondrous, eccentric white bulb, which has as many friends as it has enemies, is Item A in Arleux the whole year round, but during the middle of December this village stages a festival in honor of the smelly epicurean herb, climaxed by the election of Miss Garlic.

The reigning Garlic Queen is 18-year-old Nadine Leroux, who works as a riverboat hostess. Besides all the honor, the curvy blonde is given her weight in garlic (126 lbs.) as a prize - which, she says, she intends to eat. Standing a safe, non-asphyxiating three feet away, she tells members of the press that she is wild about garlic, eats it twice a day and carries the raw cloves in her purse at all times. No, she doesn't have a fiance, but she's not worried because everybody in Arleux eats garlic and when two people have eaten garlic, they're unaware of each other's breath.

During the annual garlic festival, stalls are set up on Arleux's winding main street, all of which dispense garlicky products and garlicky hot dishes of every kind. One stand gives out free bowls of garlic soup to any tourist who isn't French. Other stalls go in for such take-home specialties as garlic cheeses and sausages, dried and smoked garlic, garlands of braided garlic bulbs (some of which are three feet long) and hot slices of garlic bread.

The festival is climaxed in the evening with a garlic ball in the town hall, sumptuously decorated with stringed garlic knots (what else?).

Irresistible Garlic Knots Twists of garlic are cheap and popular munchies in the bread baskets at several local restaurants
By Marie Bianco
908 words
6 July 1988
(Copyright Newsday Inc., 1988)

SIMPLE ingredients - flour, water, yeast. It's how the cook treats these elements that determines whether French baguettes or pita bread will make an appearance on the dinner table.

But if your name is Frank Zitoli, rest assured that the bread basket will include garlic knots, tiny morsels of bread tossed with olive oil, lots of fresh garlic and grated Romano cheese. In a word - irresistible.

"My Uncle Mike first introduced me to them,"said Zitoli, referring to Michael Prudente, co-owner of Prudente's restaurant in Island Park. Prudente's garlic knots were a slightly different shape, said Zitoli "but when he asked me what I thought of them, I told him they were great."

Zitoli loved garlic knots, but would the public? At the time, he owned Pizza Delight in Plainview. "I put a bowl of them on the counter and offered them free to customers. I waited for their reaction. As soon as a person would pop one into his mouth, his eyes would light up and a smile would come to his face."

That was 10 years ago, and he sold thousands at 10 cents a piece.

But Zitoli didn't stop there. He splits garlic knots and stuffs them with provolone, prosciutto or sausage. He stuffs the dough with slivers of cheese before baking, adds whole-wheat flour, substitutes semolina. For champagne parties at his restaurant, Franina, in Syosset, Zitoli tucks in smoked tuna and smoked salmon. He has gone as far as presenting filled garlic knots in the shape of wreaths and Christmas trees.

"I feel they are a success because I fuss with the details," he said. "I hire part-time people who do nothing but peel garlic, and the cheese is grated here." Why Romano cheese? "It brings out the flavor of the garlic," he said.

Will garlic knots catch on? Are they the garlic bread of tomorrow? Danny Horton, owner of Victor's Pizza Delight in South Huntington, learned to make garlic knots from the former owners, Zitoli's sister and brother-in-law. At Victor's you can still buy them for a dime apiece or eat them with the daily specials - lasagna, chicken parmesan, ziti. "During a busy day, we can make as many as 1,500 garlic knots," said Horton.

Across Route 110 and down the road at Francesco's Pizzeria, owner Michael Macchia said he believes they're popular because "People love garlic." A regular customer who was waiting for two pizzas to come out of the oven said she picks up garlic knots when she buys pizza and leaves them in the refrigerator as snacks for her children after school. "A few seconds in the microwave makes them taste freshly baked," she said, "and it makes a good alternative to a sugar snack." Macchia charges 15 cents each for garlic knots. "They take a lot of time to make because they're formed by hand," he said.

Zitoli doesn't have a problem employing knotters. When he needs extra hands he calls on his three children, Victor, 13, Elisa, 11, and Alphonso, 8.

Here's Zitoli's recipe. You will have more of the garlic / oil mixture than you need. Save it for the next baking day or brush it onto sliced Italian bread and run it under the broiler. Garlic Knots 1 ounce fresh yeast 1 cup water 1 tablespoon granulated sugar 1 pound all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons olive oil 4 to 5 large cloves garlic

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup corn oil salt to taste garlic powder to taste

1/4 cup grated Romano cheese

1. Combine yeast, water and sugar in a bowl and allow to proof. Add the flour and salt and mix with an electric mixer until well combined. Add the olive oil. Knead with dough hook for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth.

2. Divide dough into two equal portions. Brush dough with a little extra olive oil on all sides and allow to rise in a shallow pan 60 minutes, covered with plastic wrap, or until double in size. Remove dough and place on a flat surface. Roll each out with a rolling pin into a 6-by-12-inch rectangle. Using a dough scraper, cut each into two 3-by-12-inch rectangles. Cut each rectangle into 12 3-by-1-inch strips.

3. Loosely form each strip into a knot taking care not to stretch the dough. Place formed knots 1 inch apart on a greased baking sheet and bake in a 400-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Remove, place in a large bowl.

4. In a blender, process garlic with olive and corn oils until creamy. As soon as the garlic knots come out of the oven drizzle them with 4 tablespoons of the oil mixture and toss two or three times. Sprinkle with salt and garlic powder and toss until knots are well coated. Sprinkle with Romano cheese and toss once more. Makes about 48 garlic knots.

Newsday Photos by Phillip Davies-1) The Zitoli children - Alphonso, 8, Victor, 13 and Elisa, 11 - stuff the knots, above. 2) Their father, Frank, displays their finished work, right. 3) Frank shows the proper knotting technique, below

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