I’m a person who likes a little sweet mixed into my savory. I’m not scared to roast my veggies with some maple syrup. I’ll go right ahead and add a layer of cranberry to a turkey sandwich. Honey on a savory biscuit? Yes, please. And I especially like adding a touch of sweet to salty AND fatty foods. Today’s post – dates wrapped in bacon and stuffed with Marcona almonds and tangy blue cheese (Spanish datiles con beicon) – is a combo made in heaven fer me.
I was introduced to bacon-wrapped dates at a New Years Eve party in Barcelona. I was far from my family – hadn’t seen them since August, when I left to study for a semester in Paris – and wasn’t sure whether a time would come when I broke down in tears at missing them. But I was welcomed into a home where the kitchen was the focal point and the whole family spent the day prepping and cooking and snacking. The casual chatter, common mission and general togetherness made me feel so at home that before I knew it, the ball was dropping, I was eating 12 grapes (because Spaniards eat 12 grapes during the final countdown, a tradition that’s meant to bring good luck in each of the upcoming 12 months; pro tip: grape-filled squirrel face isn’t ideal for a NYE kiss) and I hadn’t felt homesick once.
If you’re hosting or attending a NYE soiree and still scrambling for an idea as to what to bring, make these. Even better, open a bottle of pre-party cava and get cooking with friends and fam. Who needs a date for NYE? You do – a bunch of sweet, salty and fatty ones. Happy and healthy 2016 from Back to Spain.
Adapted from Boqueria’s recipe for datiles con beicon
- 16 Medjool dates, pits removed
- 8 teaspoons of Valdeon cheese, or other strong blue cheese
- 16 Marcona almonds
- 8 strips of streaky bacon, cut in half so that each strip is about 5 inches long
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking dish with tin foil.
- Gently slice a date lengthwise and open it so that it looks like an open clam; press 1/2 teaspoon cheese and one Marcona almond inside the date, then press it closed.
- Wrap the date with one slice of bacon and either skewer the date with a toothpick or place it seal-side down in the baking dish; place each the date into the baking dish, leaving at least an inch between.
- Bake dates for 20-25 minutes, or until they are crispy and golden brown, turning once midway so that bacon cooks evenly. While you flip, you may want to use a paper towel to carefully mop up some of the bacon grease from the dish – this will help the bacon to brown.
- Remove from oven and place on a paper towel to drain. Let cool and serve.