Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bacon hors d'oeuvres: Bacon-wrapped cheese-stuffed dates

It's clear that I love bacon. But bacon is more than a standalone food. I love combining it with different flavors and textures, and the recipe below is one of my favorite bacon combos.

To start, I almost never cook bacon on the stove top, unless I'm making bacon bits and I've chopped the bacon into little pieces. Then, I can kind of cook it more like I would a stirfry and I have the lovely bacon grease still in the pan to cook with a bit more. I hate dealing with splattering grease. I am a big fan of making bacon in the oven -- I feel the flavor/texture is unrivaled, and it's much easier. I preheat the oven to 375 and put the bacon on a cookie sheet. Be careful not to stretch the bacon when pulling it from the package, or it will curl when baking. Let it sit for 15 minutes in the oven, and take it out when you're ready. I like my bacon crisp all the way through.

This is one of my favorite bacon hors d'oeuvres: bacon-wrapped cheese-stuffed dates.

Bacon strips
Whole pitted dried dates
Extra sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350. Cut the bacon strips into thirds so that each piece wraps around the date only once or twice (anymore than that and it won't crisp). Slice slivers of the cheddar cheese and stuff into the dates. You can really use any kind of cheese here, I recommend goat cheese or feta as well, but I like the chewiness of the cheddar. Make sure you kind of seal the cheese by molding the end of the dates with your fingers. Wrap in a piece of bacon, toothpick it, and bake a sheet of them for 15-20 minutes or until the bacon is cooked.

Serve up! Your guests will love them, I promise. The sweetness of the dates plus the salty savoriness of the bacon plus the chewiness of the cheese... absolutely perfect. For the dairy-challenged, it's still delicious if you skip the cheese step. A dusting from a pepper grinder over the tray before serving is also a good touch, depending on the kind of bacon you're using. If using peppered bacon, obviously it's unnecessary, but with a hickory or a maple bacon, the pepper adds a nice bite to them. While better to serve hot, they is still delicious cold. This is a great appetizer for a party or a barbecue.

1 comment:

  1. Bacon-wrapped dates are awesome. And if, somehow, you have leftovers, they do keep for a couple days in the frig.