I was surprised to learn how many people hadn't heard of/tried a date (the fruit silly) when I made this appetizer. So I wanted to give you a short tutorial about what they are. If you already know, skip the next paragraph.
Dates come from a tree called the Date Palm tree and they grow in large "clumps" sort of like banana's at the end of a long stem. They aren't sure where it originated from but they think it was probably around Iraq, but Egypt seems to be the largest producer as of 2011 according to Wikipedia. There are several different stages of ripeness but usually by the time you buy them in a grocery store they are dried to some extent. Dates are used a very large variety of foods but usually here in the U.S. you would buy them chopped and use them in breads or desserts. Usually found near the raisins. You can also buy them whole and eat them plain or stuff them with almonds, walnuts, cream cheese or many other things. Or you can just try this recipe! Whole dates are usually refrigerated.
There, now don't you feel like you learned something today? I do what I can.
I brought these to my neighborhood dinner club party recently and they were loved by all. They are very simple to put together although you probably will have to go look for the dates. I found mine at Trader Joe's. Goat cheese is simple to find and if you can't find it or don't like it you can always substitute with cream cheese.
I hope you'll give these a try at a party you're hosting or attending soon. They are delicious!
Recipe from Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist
- 1 (8 ounce) package pitted dates
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 1 (16 oz) package bacon
- Slice each date in half length wise.
- Scoop in a small amount of goat cheese, close the date around the cheese.
- Cut the bacon in half length wise and wrap one slice around the cheese filled date. Place in a foil lined baking dish or rimmed cookie sheet, seam side down.
- Bake at 400º for 20-25 minutes.