Monday, April 28, 2008
I know, more Suzanne Goin - it's getting ridiculous. She didn't actually invent these, though they are served at her wine/tapas bar A.O.C. in LA which is what inspired me to make them originally. This last supper club meeting, our theme was bringing back old favorites, and we were allowed to request that other people make particular favorite dishes. Wendi requested that I make these again, so of course I obliged. We'd had them in February when we did cocktail snacks and appetizers for the Oscars - I also did the truffled popcorn then - another super easy delicious cocktail snack.
The first time I tried making these, I made the mistake of using Niman Ranch bacon. It's too thick, and though it tasted good, it didn't crisp up easily, and had to be held together with a toothpick. But with the paper thin strips of prosciutto, you just wind a little strip around and it stays put. Nothing could be easier. I like to cut the pieces of parmesan (about 1/4 inch by 3/4 inch baton shapes) and tear the prosciutto into strips (you can get four to six out of each paper thin slice). Then I just take my dates (the softer and stickier the better) - slit them open and pop out the pit - replace it with the cheese, wrap them up, and pop them on the pan. I used the Silpat, which lets them get nice and crispy, but they don't burn - and they come right off. After about 10 mins at 375 or so - the prosciutto crisps up nicely, the cheese melts, and you have a nice sticky little bite of sweet, smoky and salty flavors to go with wine or cocktails. The best part is that there are absolutely no dishes to wash - other than the baking pans, you're just doing assembly. No stuffing mixtures, pastry or really even knife-work involved. And everybody loves them - they're pigs in blankets for the sophisticated set.
A couple of notes - I had the best success with these when I used some small, sticky dates someone brought me from Saudi Arabia, but the organic ones from Trader Joes worked fine too. The prosciutto I used is from Trader Joes - it's smoked which gives it that nice bacon-y flavor.