Sounds a bit like a twist on rumaki? I first tasted this classic Spanish appetizer at a wonderful restaurant in Los Angeles, called AOC, that specializes in tapas. At once sweet, smoky, and salty, the little brown nuggets are a crowd pleaser, the perfect pick-up nibble to offer with cocktails.
To make small shards of Parmesan cheese, cut them from a wedge of cheese with a sharp knife. Serve the dates hot from the oven, while the cheese is still warm, and watch how fast they disappear.—Diane Rossen Worthington
18 large Medjool dates
18 pieces Parmesan cheese, each about 1 inch by 1/4 inch
6 slices apple-cured bacon, each cut into thirds
1 bunch parsley, stems removed, for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Slit each date along one side and carefully remove the pit. Insert a piece of Parmesan into each slit. Wrap a piece of bacon around each stuffed date and secure with a toothpick. Place the dates on a baking sheet. (For advance preparation, make up to 1 day ahead through step 1, cover, and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before baking.)
2. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until the bacon on top is crisp. Using tongs, turn the dates and bake for another 5 minutes, or until the bacon is crisp. Transfer the dates to a double layer of paper towels to drain.
3. Place the parsley bunch in the center of a round serving platter and arrange the dates around the parsley. Serve immediately.
Note: The clever cook could arrange the dates on top of mixed greens dressed with a basic vinaigrette for an unusual first course. Also, try substituting different cheeses such as dry Sonoma Jack or Pecorino Toscano.
Recipe © 2007 by Diane Rossen Worthington. All rights reserved.
[Raye Tiedemann] My kitchen was filled with the smokiness of the bacon from the apple cure — pretty strong. In fact, if this would be served for a party, you would go home wearing the bacon odor. It was perfect, otherwise, from salty to sweet to the soft center with the Parmesan. I will fix this again, only with the regular bacon.
[Cindy Chang] I was hesitant about using dates in this recipe but was pleasantly surprised. They add a sweetness to the salty Parmesan and the texture is nicely juxtaposed with the crispy bacon. Don’t substitute the more common hickory smoked bacon, which would overwhelm the other flavors. The dates went perfectly with a salad (arugula, beets, goat cheese, Dijon vinaigrette), as suggested.
[Jennifer Piercy] This was delicious with the Parmesan cheese — I have had variations on this recipe but never this way and I loved it! I did bake mine a bit longer, as the bacon was not as crisp as I like it. Very good and couldn’t be easier!
[Debbie Markos] This recipe was blessedly easy! I’ve always loved the flavor of bacon and Parmesan together and also, being a fan of dates, thought the combination seemed intriguing. It didn’t disappoint — I loved the salty, crisp bacon with the sweet, soft texture of the dates and the earthy, savory flavor of the Parmesan coming through. I will be making these as an appetizer at an upcoming dinner party soon