manchego and almond stuffed dates
I am utterly smitten with these little bites — and I’m not the only one. I’ve made versions of these for years – and every time I do — EVERY TIME — my guests squeal excitedly – “Ooohhhh my GAWD!” “What IS this?”
That’s because these little tidbits pack a powerhouse punch of flavor. They literally hit every sensor on your tongue. A little sweet, a bit salty, melty-gooey-cheesiness and a satisfying crunch. All in one bite!
We had a Christmas party one year and served them with cocktails. Guests were literally following the tray around to sneak another before they ran out.
The best part is that this isn’t really cooking. I mean it. It’s straight assembly-line stuff. And only 4 — count them — 4 — ingredients.
Start with dried dates. Don’t give me that look. Suspicious. Dubious. I know — you don’t eat dates, you don’t like dates, blah, blah, blah. Get over it. This isn’t about one ingredient. It’s about how each component complements the others. How they harmonize. You gotta trust me on this one!
Back to the dates. Cut them in half, remove the seeds and stuff each one with a whole almond and a small piece of Manchego cheese. Don’t worry – the dates will conform to their stuffing. Then tear or cut a bit of prosciutto and wrap it around the date. Set them on a baking sheet and heat until melty. That’s it!
While there really isn’t any season that’s better or worse for these nibbles, somehow serving them on a Spring or early Summer evening feels right to me.
Coupled with a glass of wine or cocktail, the laughter of good friends and lively music, this simple but flavor-packed hors d’oeuvre sets the tone for a great evening.
- 10 dried dates
- 1/4" thick slice manchego cheese, cut into twenty 1/2"-pieces
- 20 almonds
- 5 thin slices prosciutto, sliced lengthwise into 4 thin strips about 1/2" wide
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with vegetable spray
- Slice the dates in half lengthwise and discard the pit. Stuff each date with a piece of cheese and an almond. Wrap proscuitto around the date crosswise a few times and place on the baking sheet. Repeat for the rest of the dates.
- Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving dish.