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Roasted Dates with Parmesan and Bacon

Using pitted dates speeds the preparation. If they are not available, use a small, sharp knife to make a slit along the side of each date and pull out the pit. The bacon will help seal the date so the cheese does not leak out and it will also cover the ragged edges.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 lb. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, coarsely grated
  • 2 Tbs. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 18 dates, preferably Medjool, pitted
  • 6 lean bacon slices, each cut crosswise into 3 pieces

Directions:

Prepare the filling
Preheat an oven to 400°F and place a baking sheet in it to heat.

In a small bowl, combine the Parmigiano-Reggiano and cream cheese and stir until smooth.

Fill the dates
Using a sharp knife, slice each date along one side to make a pocket and insert 1 to 2 tsp. of the cheese filling. Wrap a piece of bacon around each stuffed date. The bacon should cover the opening in the date and overlap slightly. Secure the dates with small wooden skewers or toothpicks. (The dates may be refrigerated overnight; return to room temperature about 15 minutes before roasting.)

Roast the dates
Using tongs, place the dates on the hot baking sheet. Roast until the bacon is crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately. Makes 18 dates.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Small Plates, by Brigit L. Binns (Oxmoor House, 2007).