Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Stuffed Dates

I like to call Medjool dates nature's candy.  Soft, caramel-y and delicious, I adore medjool dates.  So when I got an email from Laura Hartung asking if I wanted to attend a dinner at Form sponsored by Bard Valley I didn't hesitate to say yes.


I joined some fellow Boston bloggers including Janel, Elizabeth, Nancy and Liz at Forum restaurant for a four course dinner (with wine pairings) featuring medjool dates.  But it wasn't just about tasting-- we learned quite a bit as well!



Did you know that medjool dates are actually fresh?  I had assumed they were dried, but it turns out that's how they grow!  Chock full of fiber, potassium and polyphenols (antioxidants!), dates are a great way to add some healthy sweetness into your life :)


Our meal started with a Medjool date, orange and almond salad with goat cheese was quite delightful, and something I could see myself serving again and again.


Not a huge fan of duck, I was surprised by the main course, where a pan roasted duck breast was paired with black rice, broccoli rabe and a vanilla date puree.  I can see that vanilla date puree being used as the base of an ice cream...  :)


The last course of the evening left us all swooning- a Medjool date pudding cake with caramel infusion.  Holy moly, this was decadent and delicious.


We were lucky enough to be sent home with some leftovers and dates to enjoy.  And enjoy I did, creating this appetizer from my memory of the ones served at my favorite tapas restaurant!  I've served these two times in the past month and since I had people I didn't know telling me they loved me, I'm going to say they were a hit ;)  Want to make these vegetarian?  Try my friend Cara's version!


Stuffed Dates
Recipe by Shannon

If you're lucky enough to have an additional pair of hands helping you prepare these, it's quickly done in an assembly line-- one person can pit the dates another stuff.  Then both of you can work on the wrapping!

Medjool dates
Marcona almonds
goat cheese
proscuitto di parma (or serrano ham)

Preheat oven to 375deg.

Begin by pitting the dates, slicing lengthwise along half of the date and then removing the pit.

Once the dates are pitted, stuff an almond and 1-2t goat cheese (depends on the size of the date) and then close the date, bringing the two edges as close together as you can.  Set aside as you continue to stuff the remaining dates.

Cut each piece of proscuitto in half lengthwise and wrap each date in one half.  Place on a baking sheet and repeat with remaining dates.

Bake until dates are warmed and proscuitto is crispy, 10-12min.


I think these eclipsed my medjool-based running fuel as my favorite way to use dates :)  What's the most creative way you've used or eaten dates before?? 

18 comments:

Erica said...

What a fun event! The dessert looks just awesome. I honestly haven't worked with dates

Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living said...

If I still lived in the city, I would have absolutely attended this event - what a great theme! Your stuffed dates sound amazing.

Jen said...

I love stuffed dates! I like to throw them in my salad as well.

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

I totally agree that dates are nature's candy!

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

Date's are far more versatile than I realized. What a fun event!

Natalie said...

stuffed dates are one of my all-time favorite appetizers! i'm so jealous of this event--i still say Boston food bloggers have the coolest opportunities :)

Daisy said...

I have made stuffed dates but never with an almond! I will have to try that. this dinner looks awesome.

Elizabeth said...

So, funnily enough, prior to this event I didn't like dates. I'm obsessed with them now and I love the ones we got covered in nuts. Also, feel free to host another get together and include your stuffed dates :)

Megan said...

That dinner sounds great, and I wish I could have gone! A friend taught me to make dates stuffed with a peanut butter and 10x filling and then rolled in 10X. Just like candy. Mmm.

These stuffed dates sound amazing!

Joanne said...

I'm actually kind of a date addict. I can't keep them around. I eat them like candy. Stuffed dates are the best!

Natasha Price said...

The tasting with dates is awesome, I love the idea of a vanilla date puree to pair with the duck. And your stuffed dates look terrific!

Sacha said...

Like Joanne, I also have a date problem and actually have stopped buying them, because I eat far too many at a time!

Reeni said...

I love medjool dates! Sticky toffee pudding is my favorite way to use them!

Cara said...

I'm so happy to read about this - I really wanted to go! Looove the idea of the vanilla-date puree paired with duck. And thank you for the mention :)

Rosiecat said...

Wow, what a lovely dinner! I totally want to make that salad at home. Thanks for providing the link :-)

Favorite thing to do with dates? I like pureeing them with fresh or frozen fruit for an instant fruit jam (stolen from an Ani Phyo raw foods cookbook).

Kerstin said...

I totally thought dates were dried, how interesting that's how they grow! They are so delicious, especially with the way you stuffed them!

Liz - Meal Makeover Mom said...

It was so fun meeting you at the event. I love when someone else does the cooking, and the chef at The Forum was amazing. Your stuffed dates look delish. The sweet + the salty is a great combo.

Elina (Healthy and Sane) said...

I love love love dates. This recipe is totally my favorite way to enjoy them in a "savory way," otherwise i'm all about just stuffing them with nuts for snacks, or in a sticky toffee pudding ;)

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