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!
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!
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??