Starting off the new year right … with more pork! I’ve had this appetizer in several iterations over the years and it never disappoints. I’m actually surprised I haven’t sung its praises before. The first time I had this dish was at a tapas restaurant in Washington, D.C. I was a vegetarian at the time, but was convinced by some good friends to try the datiles regardless. They couldn’t have been more right—those datiles were date-bacon-donuts sent from heaven. That was the beginning of the end for my vegetarianism. More recently, our friends Matt and Alexa brought their version of those datiles so fondly etched into my memory to a dinner party, this time calling them devils on horseback. Basically, this mind-blowing, vegetarian-converting appetizer is a date stuffed with goat cheese wrapped in bacon, and then baked or fried to crispy perfection. They are insanely easy to make and everyone at the next party you go to will want to be your best friend.
Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Goat Cheese
1 lb medjool dates, pits removed
1 lb bacon
8 oz chevre goat cheese
Using a sharp knife, slice the date to the pit and remove taking care to not cut through the date. Stuff the date with a small spoonful of goat cheese. I recommend stuffing the dates with slightly less goat cheese—some of mine oozed out while cooking and burned. No point in wasting cheese!
Wrap the date with one half bacon slice, securing with a toothpick. The prep can be done several hours or even the day before you plan to serve the dish, another appetizer plus!
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Bake the dates for 20 – 25 minutes, until the bacon is browned and crispy. Serve warm. I guarantee they won’t have time to get cold.