Hannah’s Chicken Wings

Although they’re actually Winnie Harano’s wings, for the record.

From the 2007 Gilroy Garlic Festival, by Jason Riedy, on Flickr

Winifred Harano is currently a retired public works employee in Los Angeles–the Gilroy Dispatch has a fantastic picture of her from 2011 (note to Dispatch: your photo licensing link doesn’t work).

In 1987, however, she won the Gilroy Garlic Festival cook-off with a recipe for chicken wings that was heavy on the garlic and suspiciously light on the hot sauce (although not as light has Hannah’s revision here). Harano’s recipe has traveled under the names “Healthy, Hot and Garlicky Wings” and “Garlicky Gilroy Chicken Wings.” Under either name, it’s a brilliant recipe. In fact, I’d say it’s close to a perfect recipe, in the same way that screenwriting classes study Groundhog Day as a perfect screenplay.

Here’s the original recipe (including the method of preparation) from the August 13, 1987 edition of The Orange County Register:

Healthy, Hot and Garlicky Wings
(First-place winner)

2 pounds chicken wings (approximately 15 wings)
3 whole heads fresh garlic, peeled
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
10 to 15 drops Tabasco sauce
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preliminaries: Separate the garlic cloves and peel them. Combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs and pepper in a plastic bag. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Procedure: Disjoint chicken wings, discarding the tips (or freeze them for later use in the stock pot). Rinse wings and pat dry. Place garlic, 1 cup olive oil and Tabasco in work bowl of blender or food processor and puree. Dip wings in the garlic puree and roll in bread-crumb mixture, one at a time, coating thoroughly.

Coat a shallow non-stick baking pan with remaining olive oil and add wings in a single layer. Drizzle with remaining garlic puree and sprinkle with any remaining bread-crumb mixture.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes until brown and crisp.

Presentation: Arrange on platter and garnish with parsley.

Yield: 4 servings.

To understand why we’d need a garlic festival, you need to revisit the culinary mindset of the 1970s and how garlic was used. While there were exceptions, obviously, the amount of garlic used in most recipes was trivially small.

For example, consider the following proportions (or click the description if you don’t believe me and want to see the original):

A 1972 recipe for 3-4 lb. veal and 1 clove of garlic, removed at the end.

From the November 17, 1972 edition of The Baytown (Texas) Sun:

Pot-de-veal au vin
Mrs. B.B. Knox

3 or 4 lb. veal pot roast (boned)
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3 cups water
2 tsp. salt
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. parsley
1 cup red wine

Season meat with salt and pepper and roll in flour. Brown on all sides in hot oil.

Place meat on rack in a pan with water, wine, salt. Tie garlic and herbs in cheesecloth.

Cover and cook 3 to 4 hours in a 350 degree oven.

A 1976 recipe for a 4-pound casserole with 1 clove of garlic.

From the September 28, 1976 edition of The Oxnard Press Courier:

Wives’ Club Zucchini Casserole
Mrs. Evelynne Marie Ritter
56 Calle El Avion

1 lb. zucchini (or eggplant)
2 lbs. ground beef
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 #2-1/2 can stewed tomatoes
4 (8 oz.) cans mushrooms, or 1 lb. fresh sliced (optional)
1 clove garlic
Oregano, salt and Italian seasoning to taste
1 ball Mozzarella cheese
1 medium white (or yellow) onion, diced

Brown beef in frying pan–set aside. Saute onion and garlic in beef grease. Return beef to pan; add tomatoes, sauce, and seasonings. Slice and add squash, then (optional) Mushrooms. Cook at low heat 10-15 minutes. Put into 8x8x2-inch baking dish, top with sliced cheese. Bake at 350 degrees, just until cheese melts.

A 1978 recipe for 3 pounds of chicken wings and 1/2 clove of garlic.

From the August 17, 1978 edition of The Santa Fe New Mexican:

Oven Barbequed Chicken Wings

3 pounds chicken wings
freshly ground black pepper to taste
salt to taste
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons ketchup

Cut off the small wing tips of each chicken wing and discard. Cut remaining wings into two parts.

Sprinkle with salt, pepper and the oil and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine remaining ingredients and pour over chicken pieces. Make one layer of coated chicken pieces in a baking dish.

Bake one hour or until chicken pieces are thoroughly cooked and the sauce is caramelized. If the chicken starts to burn, reduce oven heat.

Serve hot from the oven or freeze and reheat. Serve as finger food.

Mrs. Taylor notes that she buys whole chickens and cuts them up herself. She freezes the wings and when she has enough, she makes this hors d’oeuvre. This recipe makes enough to serve 12 to 18 people.

 It wasn’t that people didn’t like garlic, it’s that they tended to appreciate in amounts better suited to homeopathic remedies. Most people who encountered an actual field of garlic were–believe it or not–put off by the smell. And Gilroy, California had an awful lot of garlic fields.

In 1979, local community college president Rudy Malone heard of a garlic festival in Arleux, France, a town that proclaimed itself the garlic capital of the world. As Gilroy grew more garlic than Arleux, he felt Gilroy ought to have the title, and with farmer and chef Val Filice and farmer Don Christopher, the first festival had 22 volunteers. They hadn’t anticipated the thousands who would visit that year; there weren’t enough printed tickets, and they asked visitors to turn in their tickets so they could be re-sold to new visitors.

This year, there were over 4000 volunteers and 102,000 visitors.

From a box sold in Martinez, California.

Chicken Wings (Hannah)

[For two pounds of wings.]

3 bunches of garlic
1 cup olive oil
2 drops Tabasco sauce

1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs

375-400 deg. oven, 30 minutes.

Yesterdish reminder: For the full recipe and instructions, see Winnie Harano’s original recipe above.

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