Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Recipe Roadtest: Parmesan-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon

I have a love of dates that goes back to a 10-day roadtrip through Morocco in 2000. We picked dates off a tree in Skoura and sampled several varieties from the vendors in Marrakech’s Djemaa el Fna. We ate the sticky fruit in numerous dishes, and learned to appreciate the different varieties.

I have a love of parmesan cheese that definitely does not date back to my childhood when we ate grated parmesan from the green Kraft canister. My affection, nay, adoration for parmesan, is actually a love of Parmigiano. This appreciation for the genuine article was sparked by my first-generation Italian husband and his immigrant parents.

I have a love of bacon that, really, shouldn’t need to be explained.

So, when I saw the recipe for parmesan-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon in the October 2005 issue of Gourmet three of my culinary stars were aligned. I prepared these little lovelies Saturday night when our friend Nicole came over for dinner. She had looked stricken earlier in the week when I asked her if she might like these as an appetizer. She breathlessly assured me that nothing on earth could sound better. I couldn’t agree more.

We were both rewarded for our anticipation. The gooey Parmigiano oozed into the sweet, sticky dates, while the crisp bacon acted as a smoky, salty counterpoint. I waited nearly a year after seeing this recipe to make the stuffed dates, but I didn’t wait nearly that long to prepare another batch. In fact, we still had leftover ingredients after our dinner party, and the dates were a memorable addition to yesterday’s Labor Day dinner.

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