Monday, 23 March 2015

Prosciutto Wrapped Stuffed Dates

I call them my "potluck girls" but really, after over ten years of friendship, I'm not going to try to express on a food blog what they mean to me. Last Friday, we had the pleasure of watching our friend Kaitlyn be The Bachelorette in a dating game at a local bar. Luckily, Gill's baby boy Ryder was in attendance (our first potluck baby) at the pre-game to provide a male perspective to the outfit selection process. He obviously approved of the little black dress. I suspect he won't always enjoy attending our potlucks. 

I forgot how fun it is to eat snacks on the couch while your friend models her outfit options for the night. It felt like we were right back in high school, only difference being that one of our offspring was present and we weren't pounding raspberry vodka and five cent candies. After years of potlucking this is not the first time these ladies tasted stuffed dates wrapped in prosciutto. Isn't it fantastic when a few simple ingredients combine to make a killer snack? This "recipe" has been passed back and forth many times, everyone puts their own spin on it. Ever since first tasting it at my friend Lori's house, I was sold on the concept. It takes a bit of time to make each individual bite but it's very simple. Because each piece is so easy to grab, it's one of my top go-tos for parties. 

An alarming side effects of transitioning from your twenties to thirties is the new found comfort level for eating savoury cheese and meat in the same mouthful as dried fruit. The craving for salty/sweet seems to intensify with each passing year. Add in the additional contrast of textures - soft and chewy with the crunch of an almond, and let the addiction begin. For some reason I'm still not down with the meaty, chewy texture of uncooked prosciutto, so I always roast these little guys before serving to crisp it up, but that's your call. I used goat cheese here, but if I was making them for the chèvre-averse (husband) I would use a herbed cream cheese or Boursin. You can find dates pre packaged, but also usually in the bulk section, which is ideal because then you can hand select the biggest, best ones.

Prosciutto Wrapped Stuffed Dates
Makes about 24 Bite Sized Appetizers

24 whole pitted dates
1 package prosciutto (about 12 pieces)
1 small package goat cheese
24 almonds

Keep the prosciutto in fridge until you need it because it's easier to work with when cold. Choose 24 of the biggest dates. Use a small pairing knife to cut a slit, lengthwise into the date. Press the ends of the date open to reveal the little pocket where the pit once lived. This doesn't need to be perfect at all, because once you mound cheese inside and wrap it, they all look the same. 

Use a small spoon to smush a bit of cheese inside or onto each one, and then push an almond into the cheese.

Working with one slice at a time, use a sharp knife to cut prosciutto in half lengthwise. Roll up one stuffed date per half slice of prosciutto. Repeat until all dates are wrapped. If you're having trouble with the prosciutto sticking or melting, throwing it in the freezer for 10 mins can help.

If you're so inclined, place all the wrapped dates on a foil lined baking sheet and heat in a 400 degree oven until browned and crispy, about 15 minutes. They can be served hot or room temperature, so you can pre cook them before going to a gathering.

Admittedly they don't look all that appetizing, but I pity the fool who judges them based on their looks.