PHOTO BY R.J. HINKLE.

Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed With Chorizo

Executive chef Jamie Samford of Stonebridge Ranch Country Club in McKinney, Texas, combines Spain’s favorite sausage with sweet dates for a warm, crowd-pleasing tapas bite. Samford recommends using Medjool dates, which he calls the “king of dates.”

18 dates, pitted

1 pound cured Spanish chorizo, cut into 18 1-inch by 1/4-inch pieces

6 slices bacon, cut into thirds

1/2 cup maple syrup or honey

1/2 cup toasted Marcona almonds, roughly cut

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet tray with a silicone baking mat or parchment. Slit each date and stuff each with one sausage piece. Wrap each date with a bacon strip and secure with a toothpick. Place the dates on the prepared sheet tray.

Roast in the oven until the bacon on top starts to crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Turn the dates over and repeat the process. Remove the dates from the oven and brush both sides with maple syrup. Return the dates to the oven until the dates are crackly and sticky, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve hot and garnish with Marcona almonds.

Yield: 6 servings

Chef’s Tip: “For an extra kick, drizzle a little balsamic syrup and cracked black pepper over the finished dates at serving time.”

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