Four Minutes Before Midnight
My friend Nathalie made the most delicious bacon-wrapped dates at her birthday party a month ago using apple smoked bacon, pecorino cheese, and the sweetest Medjool dates. One would think the flavors would be too intense all together, but the final product is really a sweet, creamy, salty bite (in the best way possible). I’ve been craving them ever since. The recipe posted after the jump yields 12 dates and takes about 12 minutes to bake. If you prepare them ahead of time (like she did) you can pop them in the oven while you’re hosting and serve them hot.
12 Medjool dates 12 1 1/2 x 1/4 x 1/4-inch pieces Asiago, Manchego, or pecorino cheese 4 slices applewood-smoked bacon, each cut crosswise into 3 pieces Smoked paprika* Preheat oven to 425°F. Using small knife, make small cut in side of each date; remove pit. Insert 1 piece of cheese into each date. Brush bacon slices generously on 1 side with smoked paprika. Wrap each date with 1 piece of bacon, with paprika side against date. Secure bacon with toothpick. Arrange dates on rimmed baking sheet. Roast until bacon is browned on bottom, about 6 minutes. Turn dates; roast until bacon is cooked, about 6 minutes longer. Transfer to plate; cool slightly. Remove toothpicks.
*FYI, in this crowd, the appetizer was a big hit with the ladies but less so with the boys.