Adapted from a Food and Wine recipe
Daughter Miriam asked for Spanish tri-tip for her birthday dinner. Looking for side dishes to go with it I found a tapas to use as a started. Dates stuffed with mild chorizo and wrapped with smoky bacon, what was not to love?
Medjool dates are larger and sweeter—and more commonly available in the U.S.—than many of the other 47 varieties of dates grown. This make them perfect for stuffing with a variety of fillings. Growing up my mother, Claudia, would stuff these dates with peanut butter and dust them with powdered sugar as a Christmas treat.
Spanish chorizo comes in hot and mild versions, but can be hard to find in San Jose. Several of the independent stores that used to carry this sort of ingredient had been bought out by the big supermarkets. I found the charizo I was looking for at a new market in Evergreen—that used to be a Cosentino’s—it is now a New Seasons Market.
Karl’s Bacon Wrapped Medjool Dates Stuffed with Chorizo
10 Medjool dates
2 inches mild Spanish chorizo
5 strips apple wood smoked bacon
Note: This recipe is written for five people. You can easily adjust this recipe to your number of diners. Figure two dates, one strip of bacon and a bit of sausage per person.
1. Slice through one side of the date and remove the pit.
Tip: This creates a little pocket to receive your stuffing.
Note: Some if the dates will have a little, inedible cap on the stem end of the date. Simply pop these off and discard them.
2. Remove the papery casing from the chorizo and divide the sausage onto two one inch pieces.
3. Slice the pieces in half—lengthwise—and continue slicing until you have 10 one inch bars.
Note: This may leave some excess chorizo, if you are making ten pieces.
4. Stuff the dates with the pieces of chorizo.
5. Slice the bacon strips in half crosswise.
6. Wrap each date with half a strip of bacon and secure it with a toothpick.
7. Preheat the oven to 350º F.
8. Spread the stuffed dates out on a small baking sheet and bake them for 30-40 minutes.
Tip: The recipe I was adapting called for frying the dates. I did not think this would work well because of the toothpicks would prevent two sides of the wrap from contacting the pan. The all around heat of the oven seemed like a better idea.
Note: I baked my dates at 375º F, because that was the temperature required for my patatas bravas. This temperature was a bit too high and some spot on my bacon got a bit burned.
9. Flip the wraps over half way through the baking time.
10. Remove the dates to a plate and serve warm.
Tip: These morsels may be baked earlier and reheated in the oven for 5-10 minutes just before serving.