A few years ago when I was still teaching at the cooking school, we had a summer camp program for kids. It was really fun teaching a room full of young people the joy of cooking and food. Inspiring them to eat with their taste buds, and not worry about whether they thought they liked something or not based on principle, but to expand their horizons. Little foodies in the making. As part of this teaching we tried creating dishes with unique flavor profiles, that packed a wallop, a real flavor sensation!
One of the dishes we made up covered all the basics – super sweet, salty and savory. We stuffed dried dates with parmesan cheese, wrapped them in bacon and broiled them until the bacon was nice and crispy. We called them bugs – because that is kind of what they look like if you are a kid. For me, I easily looked past their outward appearance, this was one of the most amazing flavor combinations! One of those bites that you really can’t wrap your head around, until you have tried it! For me, it was love at first bite.
It has been a while since I last had these, but recently I got a craving for them. We had just picked up some dried dates from the health food store and I had some turkey bacon in the fridge that needed using up – and of course we always have Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar in the fridge (what kind of displaced Vermonters would we be without it?), so a plan started coming together in my head. We also had some nice peppery arugula in the fridge, straight from the farmers market and I thought that would marry nicely with the sweet and savory date bites. Topping everything off with some thick, black balsamic glaze, and it really was heaven on a plate. The stuffed dates are great on a salad, but certainly can be served alone as an hors d’oeuvre . They are so quick to put together, but the taste is totally amazing. Sure to impress anyone. Go ahead and make some – you know you wanna try them!