This is one of those recipes where you get high praises for fundamentally doing no “real” cooking. Basically all you do is assemble 3 ingredients and turn on your oven. And the final product? Well suffice it to say that several people complimented me on the dates at the wonderful holiday party last evening hosted by our good friends John and Deanne.
I actually felt a little guilty because some of the appetizers brought to the gathering took a considerable amount of time to prepare. I know that for a fact because I have made a few of the dishes myself and know how time consuming they can be. So here I am, modestly accepting compliments for an appetizer that has fewer ingredients and less culinary ability required than any other appetizer on the table. I wish I could finish this story by saying I’ll never do that sort of thing again, but alas we have another holiday party to attend this afternoon. Now, I’m reasonably sure even those of you who are not rocket scientists can guess what I am bringing as our contribution. (Thanks again Mr. C for going to the store at the crack of dawn for more bacon.)
So if you too are feeling lazy, but still want to wow your family and friends with an appetizer that takes the term “out of this world” to a new level, make a batch of these for your next gathering. Or take them with you if you are invited to bring a little “something” to share. They can be plated at home (on a pretty plate or platter*, of course), don’t need to be transported in an ice chest (unless the party is in some place like Florida or Costa Rica), and don’t require warming when you arrive at your destination. Just plop them on the table and get out of the way!
*Remember: for most people presentation is important. And especially during the holiday season, your host or hostess has probably worked very hard to set a lovely table. Do that person the courtesy of nicely plating whatever dish you take to share with the other guests. In other words, leave your Tupperware at home! (If it’s impractical to plate ahead of time, bring a nice serving dish and plate your offering when you arrive at the gathering.) There is truly nothing more frustrating for a hostess than having a guest show up with his or her famous clam dip in a yellow Tupperware bowl and just plopping it on your beautifully decorated table. Don’t do that to someone who has invited you to their home. End of common sense lesson number 34. (Sorry, it’s just the Martha coming out in me! I’ll be OK in the morning.)
- 35 whole pitted dates, slit from end to end (I use my kitchen shears)
- 1 lb. lean, thin sliced bacon cut in thirds (you will have some extra)
- about 2 oz. crumbled blue cheese
Take a bit of blue cheese and place in each date. Close the date with your fingers. (If you put too much blue cheese in the date it won’t close.) Place each date, cut side down, on a piece of bacon, wrap from both ends to the middle, and secure with a toothpick. Place on a baking sheet with sides and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. (If you have a convection oven, now is a good time to use it.) Remove from oven and flip with a small spatula. Bake for an additional 4-6 minutes or until the bacon is crisp. The dates can be served warm or at room temperature.
Note: Obviously you can make as many or as few of these dates as you need. I just usually make 35 because they fit on one of my baking pans perfectly.