This recipe is Spanish, and it is most commonly served as a tapa, or appetizer. The term tapa means “cover,” and it refers to the practice of covering your drink with a card to keep the flies out. People would then use the card on top of their drinks as a place to set down nuts, olives, or whatever other finger food might go well with what they were drinking, and soon, the nibbles became know as tapas, too. Dates were introduced into Spain by the Moors, as were almonds. This recipe is easy and delicious. Enjoy.
Datiles con Tocino
(Stuffed Dates in Bacon)
8 slices of bacon, cut in half
16 dates, pitted
16 almonds, roasted and salted
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Stuff one almond into each date. Wrap the date with bacon and put it on a jelly roll pan or other baking sheet with sides, seam side down. Press down a little, to flatten a tiny bit, to keep it from unrolling. Alternatively, you could fasten the bacon with a toothpick that has been soaked for an hour in water (to keep it from bursting into flames in the oven).
Bake for 8 minutes, then turn the bacon-wrapped dates over and return to the oven. Continue to bake until bacon is crisp (check after 5 minutes, but can take up to 8 minutes on side two, depending on your oven). You may want to blot the cooked dates on a paper towel, to soak up a bit of grease, as you transfer them to a serving dish. Serves 4.
Notes: As an experiment, I tried stuffing the dates with sliced garlic—slice a clove of garlic into 1/8-inch slices—instead of the almond, or along with it. Yum. Not traditional, but I don’t think anyone in garlic-happy Spain would complain.
©2008 Cynthia Clampitt