Saturday, January 1, 2011

NYE Tapas: Bacon-Wrapped, Cheese-Stuffed Dates

For this year's New Year's Eve festivities, I wanted to bring something that would accompany the main dish of paella. And, while I'm known for wickedly awesome deviled eggs, I wanted to try something a little more challenging and better suited for the Spanish dish (and besides, I made deviled eggs just last week for an ugly Christmas sweater party).

So after a quick online search for good tapas recommendations, I decided on bacon-wrapped, cheese-stuffed dates. I've ordered them at Solera in Minneapolis several times and have always loved them. The only question was whether I'd be able to successfully make them on my own.

The dates are loosely based off of this Food Network recipe with inspiration from my friend who loves to cook (and encouraged me to break free from following direction...though he did generously guide me along the way).
First up, pitting all of the dates. Here they are post-pitting.
Next, we stuffed all of the dates with chunks of Maytag (a blue cheese originated and made in Iowa...woot woot). Then, we wrapped all of the stuffed dates in slices of bacon and briefly fried them before placing them in the oven for about 10 minutes.
And here they are ready to be eaten!

Let me just say that these were absolutely delicious. The sweet, chewy taste of the date, combined with the salty, crisp bacon and sharp, strong cheese, made for pure perfection. They went fast and were impressive indeed.

I will make just one cautionary note: stuffed/wrapped dates are not for the cheap. Both the cheese, which you can buy by the pound, and the dates themselves are fairly expensive. BUT, if you're looking to try something new and are willing to indulge, they're simply awesome :)

Happy New Year!