Dátiles Para Endulzar El Alma (Dates to Sweeten the Soul)
This is one of my favorite tapas dishes. Everywhere in Spain and all over New York City, I’ve tried the dátiles. Its magneticism lies in the contrast of flavors, textures and sometimes a hint of herbs at the finish from the goat cheese. So much complexity from such a simple dish awakens the palate and rouses the tastebuds.
The sweetness of the dates and saltiness of the turkey bacon layers itself perfectly over a soft, tart bed of goat cheese. The crispiness of the turkey bacon is the opener to the smooth date, which gives way to the creamy goat cheese. Hiding in the middle, an almond replaces the pit adding the coup de grace, texture and nutiness.
This is a relatively quick appetizer to make, but it requires a little bit of patience in its construction, especially if, like me, you bought whole dates instead of pitted dates. Once you get the hang of it and find a rhythm on the assembly line, you pop them in the oven for 15 minutes and will be devouring tapas with an almost kinetic flavor in no time.
- 16 dates (pitted)
- 6 tablespoons goat cheese
- 1 package of turkey bacon (about 12-16 pieces)
- 16 whole almonds
- 16 toothpicks (optional)
Preheat oven to about 500F. You’ll want the oven very hot.
Inside the cavity of each pitted date insert a whole almond. Fill the rest of the date with a generous amount of goat cheese. Wrap the stuffed date in 1 piece of turkey bacon each. Place end-side down on a baking sheet and place it in the oven. Let cook for 15 minutes. Serve warm.