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Garlic: An Edible Biography (8 days and counting!)

Yogi Berra

According to a 1956 ad for Kraft’s then-new Italian Dressing, Yogi Berra said it “sure makes swell salads” thanks to “rare herbs, fresh spices and just the right touch of garlic.” Although Berra (ne Lawrence Peter) admitted that he was dubbed Yogi by a teammate who saw him sitting serenely with his arms and legs crossed and said he sat like a yogi, he once told reporters that he had no idea why he’d been dubbed Yogi and said “I had a brother they called ‘Garlic’ and his name was Mike.”

Berra also said, “You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.” Since I recently shared a salad dressing recipe, here’s a recipe for Pizza Escarole, a Neapolitan dish is most commonly served on Christmas Eve as it’s meatless.

Pizza Escarole

Makes 6 servings

1 lb pizza dough*
2 lb escarole (2 heads), separated into leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin
10 black olives, pitted and sliced
One 2-ounce can flat anchovies, chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup dark raisins
1 tbsp salted capers, rinsed and drained (See note below)
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the escarole, stir to submerge completely, and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cool water. When the escarole is cool enough to handle, squeeze it well to remove excess water and then chop coarsely.

3. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, olives, anchovies, and pine nuts and sauté, stirring frequently, until the garlic begins to turn golden, about 1 minute. Add the escarole and cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until very hot and flavorful and most of the liquid is cooked away, about 10 minutes. Stir in the raisins and capers. Season with pepper. Let the filling cool to room temperature while preparing the dough.

4. Divide the dough into two pieces; one piece should be about two-thirds of the dough and the other about one-third. Roll the larger piece out into a 16-inch round and transfer it to a 12-inch round baking dish or pan to line the bottom and sides. Fill the dough with the escarole mixture. Roll out the remaining dough into a 12-inch round for the top crust. Pinch the edges of the dough together to seal the top and bottom together.

Note: Capers preserved in salted have a more delicate, flowery flavor than those preserved in brine but those can be substituted if necessary. (The best salted capers come from the Sicilian island of Pantelleria.)