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Warm Dates with Parmesan and Walnuts

Winter is date season, and meaty Medjools are a particular treat. The dense, sweet fruit is delicious paired with salty Parmigiano-Reggiano and earthy, crunchy walnuts. Other cheese options include pecorino or soft goat cheese. You can assemble this easy appetizer up to 8 hours in advance and heat just before serving.

Ingredients:

  • 24 large dates, preferably Medjool
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil or walnut oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2-oz. piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 24 walnut halves

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Using a paring knife, make a small lengthwise incision in each date and carefully remove the pit. In a bowl, gently toss the pitted dates with the 2 tsp. olive oil.

Arrange the dates, slit side up, in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet or in a shallow baking dish. Using a vegetable peeler, cut the cheese into bite-size shavings. Tuck 1 or 2 cheese shavings and a walnut half into each date.

Bake until the dates are warmed through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, drizzle with more olive oil and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Cheese, by Georgeanne Brennan (Weldon Owen, 2010).