Stephen’s been asking me to make dates wrapped in bacon for oh, nine years now.
We met nine years ago.
But, y’know, I grew up kosher. I lurves me some super-crisp bacon, and pepperoni pizza is always welcome—but only outside my home. Inside, I’m all about turkey bacon. And I knew turkey bacon wasn’t going to satisfy my husband’s yearning. It doesn’t have that substantialness, the chewiness, the fattiness. So I stuck my fingers in my ears and sang “lalala I can’t hear you” whenever the subject of dates wrapped in bacon came up. For nine years.
What made this formerly-kosher, pork-product-averse wife finally cave? The chance to make them at someone else’s home! My in-laws are moving to England for two years—my father-in-law received an amazing job opportunity—so on Mother’s Day weekend the extended family gathered in South Jersey for a barbecue/farewell party.
And I thought, finally. Dates wrapped in bacon. But I’m still me, so I can’t do plain-old-plain-old. I went whole hog, so to speak, stuffing each date with a sliver of salty Parmesan and a buttery, crunchy Marcona almond before applying their piggy cummerbunds. Greasy business, that part. You’ll want to wash your hands several times afterwards, to remove the sheen of pig fat as well as the smoky smell.
I’m pretty sure you know how this goes: They were a huge hit. So huge, in fact, that the recipe I’m giving you is already doubled. Trust me, you’ll want to have a lot of these at the ready.
Happy Father’s Day, Stephen. Maybe someday I’ll make these again, at someone else’s house.
Parmesan-and-Almond-Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Bacon
Adapted from Epicurious
36 (1- by 1/4-inch) sticks Parmigiano-Reggiano (from a 3/4-lb piece)
36 pitted dates (preferably Medjool)
36 Marcona almonds
12 bacon slices, cut crosswise into thirds
Preheat oven to 450°F, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line two rimmed baking pans with foil.
- Stuff 1 piece of cheese and 1 almond into each date, then wrap 1 piece of bacon around the outside, securing it with a pick. You may have to stretch the bacon gently, but it should fit. Arrange dates 1 inch apart in the baking pans.
- Bake 5 minutes, then turn dates over with tongs and rotate placement of pans. Bake until bacon is crisp, 5 to 6 minutes more. Drain on a paper bag or parchment. Serve immediately.
MAKE BABY FOOD: This ain’t baby food. Sorry. Though if your dates are nice and soft, you can pull off any bits of tough skin and let your baby gum one, or puree with water, milk, or broth.