According to Wikipedia, “dates have been a staple food in the Middle East for thousands of years”. Dates are a good source of vitamin C. They also supply the body with a lot of energy. This is probably the reason why it is the first meal when the sun sets during Ramadan. This fruit is mainly grown mainly in the Middle East, but it can be found in the United States and Mexico as well.
I am personally not fond of dates, but I loved this dish the first time I tried it at a tapas bar. It is a good appetizer or snack, but you can serve it tapas style along with chorizo, olives and cheese.
1 box lg. dates, pitted (24)
1/2 c. finely chopped celery
1 cooked artichoke heart, finely chopped
1 pkg. (3 oz.) cream cheese
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Dash of cayenne
1/4 tsp. salt
24 slices bacon
1 cup red wine
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
First, prepare the filling by combining the celery, artichoke, cream cheese, lemon juice, cayenne and salt in a bowl. Mix well.
Stuff the mixture into the dates. Next, cut the bacon strips in half. Wrap a slice of bacon on each date and secure it with a toothpick.
In a saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the garlic for 2-3 minutes or until it is slightly brown. Pour in the red wine. Place the dates in the saucepan. Broil them until the wine evaporates and the bacon becomes crisp.
You can keep the toothpicks on or remove them before serving. Serve warm, preferably with wine or sangria.
Photo Courtesy Of: Ron Dollete