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Bacon and dates: A Spanish take on rumaki

| Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, 9:00 p.m.
Noel Barnhurst
Crispy Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates.

Rumaki, bacon-wrapped bites of chicken liver and water chestnuts, is a classic appetizer.

This tasty twist on rumaki wraps apple-cured bacon around a sweet date stuffed with parmesan cheese.

A Spanish-style nibble, this is a terrific pick-up appetizer served with cocktails.

Sweet, smoky and salty, these little brown nuggets are a crowd-pleaser. You can make them up ahead and just cook them right before serving.

Choose Medjool dates, which have a velvety-soft texture, and are one of the sweetest varieties.

To make small shards of parmesan cheese, use a sharp knife and cut off from the whole hunk of cheese.

Sometimes, I serve these along with a glass of Cava or Prosecco before dinner. The contrasting flavors here pair well with sparkling wine or cocktails.

Present these on a tray and watch how fast they disappear. Make sure to serve them hot from the oven while the cheese still is warm.

Crispy Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Dates

• Multiply this recipe for a large cocktail party.

• Use these dates on top of mixed greens dressed with favorite vinaigrette for an unusual first course.

• Try different cheeses, such as Dry Sonoma Jack or Pecorino Toscana.

6 slices apple-cured bacon, each piece cut into thirds

18 large dates, pitted with a slit to insert the cheese

18 1-by- 14-inch pieces parmesan cheese

1 medium-size bunch parsley, for garnish

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the dates on a baking sheet and insert the cheese into the slit of each date. Wrap a piece of bacon around each stuffed date and secure with a toothpick.

Bake for about 5 minutes or until the bacon on top seems crisp. Turn the dates over with tongs and bake for another 5 minutes or until the bacon is crisp.

Using tongs, transfer the date to a double layer of paper towels to drain.

Place the parsley bunch in the center of a round serving platter and arrange the dates in a circular pattern around the parsley. Serve immediately.

Serves 6 to 8: makes 18 pieces

Advance preparation: May be prepared up 1 day ahead before the baking process, covered and refrigerated.

Bring to room temperature before roasting.

Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 20 cookbooks, including most recently “Seriously Simple Parties” (Chronicle Books, 2012), and also a James Beard award-winning radio show host.

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