Bacon Wrapped Dates with Manchego, Romesco Sauce


1 (12 ounce) container Medjool dates, pitted
1 pound thick sliced hardwood smoked bacon
1/4 pound Manchego cheese
Freshly cracked black pepper
Romesco Sauce


Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil & set a metal cooling rack on top.
Remove the pits from the dates by making a small slice into the date with a paring knife. Gently slide a finger in to pop out the pit & discard.
Chop a pieces of the Manchego cheese large enough to stuff inside the date.
Place one stripe of bacon on a cooking board & slice into three equals sections. Take one section & wrap around the cheese stuffed date; Set seem side down on cooling rack. Repeat with remaining dates.
Grind fresh black pepper on top of bacon wrapped dates & bake until the bacon is crisp – 20 to 30 minutes.
Serve with Romesco sauce or honey drizzled over the top.




Those three adjectives describe this Tapas-style amuse-bouche.
Amuse bouche?
I use that word because amuse-bouches are different from appetizers in that they are created by the chef to excite the taste buds of the guests before their meal. These one-bite temptations offer a glimpse into the chef’s culinary journey that you will be partaking in that evening. I pair these small bites with a complementing wine or a cocktail.

What would be a more perfect amuse-bouche for a Spanish Tapas party than smoky bacon wrapped around sweet dates stuffed with salty Manchego cheese? The dish takes minutes to prepare and bakes in less than 30 minutes. I like to serve the dates with a Spanish romesco sauce to highlight the Spanish theme. A drizzle honey and fresh cracked black pepper over the freshly baked dates is another quick alternative.

Norpie’s Wine Pairing Tip:
I like to pair regional wines with regional cuisine, so I choose a Spanish Rioja Cortijo III Tinto 2009. The Cortijo III was a typical Rioja with a soft flavors of ripe fruit with a gamy touch to the nose. This light-bodied, crisp Rioja red wine, blended from 80%Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha, paired well with this amuse-bouche. It is good to start with a light-bodied wine then building up to the more complex food and wine pairings over the Tapas courses.

Norpie’s Cork Pairing:
•Rioja Cortijo III Tinto 2009 – A soft, light-bodied Rioja red blend of Tempranillo & Garnacha. The wine has strawberry & plum with a gamy touch to the nose; Delivers crisp, berry flavors in a well balanced dry finish. A simple red wine pairing with a first course during Tapas or an everyday wine to drink with pizza. Under $10.00 a bottle.


12 to 15 one-bite servings


Saturday, August 13, 2011 - 11:03am


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