A few months ago our family ate dinner at a swanky tapas restaurant in Washington DC. Although everything we ordered that night was of excellent quality, the entire family’s favorite was a dish of bacon wrapped dates. It was so good that we ordered a second plate and then a third plate of these tasty little bites. Alas, it was tapas restaurant and so the dishes were tiny and in each order we only got three little dates. Since all of us had enjoyed the dates so much, a few days later I experimented with the recipe. The ones in the restaurant were breaded and deep fried and I wanted to make a slightly healthier version of it (I know, I know with so much bacon in it, it was not going to be healthy and that is why I said “healthier” – it’s all relative). I stuffed the dates with blue cheese and wrapped them with bacon strips and then to hold the little package together, I stuck a toothpick through it and baked the whole batch in the oven. VOILA!!! This is the tastiest three-ingredient bite of cooked food that you will ever eat. The combination of flavors is absolutely amazing. I admit, the process of assembling the stuffed dates is a little time consuming but believe me the effort is well worth it!
I have made these wrapped dates several times since my initial experiment. I usually make them as appetizers for a dinner party. Today I’ve made a huge batch to take to my son’s cross country meet tomorrow. This is the end of his cross-country season and the parents of all the kids on the team have organized a tailgate party. My son has requested that my contribution be a big dish of bacon dates and so this afternoon I spent a couple of hours stuffing and wrapping over two hundred dates. These are actually great for a potluck party because they can be eaten hot out of the oven or even cooled to room temperature. And if you are planning to make them as appetizers for a party, you can bake them ahead of time and just before serving them, you can warm them up in the microwave.
1. 50 pitted dates
2. 3-4 tablespoons of crumbled blue cheese
3. A packet of bacon (I used low sodium)
4. Wooden toothpicks
1. Pre-heat the oven at 350 degrees.
2. While the oven is getting heated, using a small teaspoon, start stuffing the dates with blue cheese crumbles. Dates are usually able to accommodate only a little bit of cheese – try to avoid over-stuffing the dates or the cheese will ooze out during the baking process.
6. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 10 minutes to cook the dates half-way through.