When I was a teenager my parents introduced me to a new type of dish called tapas. This was about the age that I was ready to appreciate new and interesting foods. Tapas are Spanish appetizers or small bytes that are ideal for cocktail parties and entertaining. In fact, I have hosted parties serving nothing more than 5-6 tapas, Spanish wine and port.
As this is my first tapas posting, I thought I would start out with my favorite: Dates with Bacon and Stuffed Blue Cheese. I know it sounds strange, but trust me it is delicious.
- 1 lb Thick sliced bacon
- 1 lb Pitted dates
- 6 oz Blue cheese (block)
Preheat oven to 400°.
Begin by cutting your blue cheese into rectangles large enough to fill each date. I prefer to put the blue cheese in the freezer for about 5 min before I start so that the cheese is easier to cut and stuff.
Cut each slice of bacon into 3 equal parts. The "1/3 rule" is typically long enough to wrap the bacon once around the date. Wrap dates with bacon and pierce with toothpick to secure.
Place dates on cookie sheet and cook for 22-28 minutes. Check on the dates after 15 minutes, and every few minutes afterward to ensure that the bacon does not burn. Once the bacon is nice and crisp, remove from oven.
Let the dates cool for a few minutes. Then, remove with spatula and plate.
I find that the typical serving per person is around 3-4 dates. However, these go quickly, so be prepared and make extra! This dish is great with Spanish red wine, port and sangria.