Sounds a bit like a twist on rumaki? I first tasted this classic Spanish appetizer at a wonderful restaurant in Los Angeles, called a.o.c., 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.–Diane Rossen Worthington
LC WHAT SHE SAID NOTE
The author also mentioned that you could arrange the dates on top of mixed greens dressed with a basic vinaigrette for “an unusual first course.” Hmmm. We can sorta see it. Though we’d maybe be tempted to swap the Parmesan for a mild blue cheese. We’d also be tempted to toss some Marcona almonds on the salad. Come to think of it, for ease of eating we’d probably disassemble the wrapped, stuffed dates, or just never assemble them in the first place, instead strewing lovely little leaves of watercress with crisped bacon pieces, crumbles of cheese, and slivered dates and dribbling a balsamic or sherry vinaigrette over it all. If you’ll excuse us, it seems we’ve got a first course to go plate…
Crispy Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Dates
- 18 large Medjool dates
- 18 pieces Parmesan cheese (or substitute dry Sonoma Jack or pecorino Toscano) each about 1 inch by 1/4 inch
- 6 slices apple wood-cured bacon each cut into thirds
- 1 bunch parsley stems removed, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
- Using the tip of a paring knife, slit each date along one side and carefully remove and discard the pit. Insert a piece of Parmesan into each slit. (To make small shards of Parmesan cheese, cut them from a wedge of cheese with a sharp knife.) Wrap a piece of bacon around each stuffed date and secure it with a toothpick. Place the dates on a rimmed baking sheet. (You can cover and refrigerate the stuffed, wrapped dates for up to 24 hours. Return to room temperature before baking.)
- 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.
- Place the parsley bunch in the center of a round serving platter, if using. Arrange the dates on the platter. Serve the dates hot from the oven, while the cheese is still warm, and watch how fast they disappear.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
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.
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.
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!
Originally published April 16, 2007