Rich’s mom loves the rumaki recipe I got from my friend Jenny – marinated water chestnuts wrapped in bacon and baked – and they are quite tasty. In fact, she keeps some stashed in her freezer as an emergency treat when folk drop by, so rumaki would have been a natural for me to serve while mom was visiting and we had a ‘Welcome Baby Mischa’ dinner, but I had other plans…
Well, in fact, I had a nice box of Medjool Dates that needed something done with them, and this seemed just the thing.
•Gateway to the North Maple Seasoning
-or your favorite barbecue seasoning
Heat the oven to 375º.
Slice the dates open, leaving one side attached like a clam shell, and remove the pits. Stuff the pitted dates with an almond or two – I used lightly salted dry-roast almonds.
Note: you will want twice as many dates as you have slices of bacon.
Lay the bacon slices out flat on a board and slice in half as shown.
Close the date around the almond(s) and wrap with the half bacon slice. Secure with a toothpick and repeat with the remaining dates. This may seem obvious, but I found it a lot easier (and neater) to count out bacon and dates and almonds before I started and do all the pitting, stuffing, and then wrapping at once. Also, doing it this way greatly reduced the chances of my contaminating extra dates and/or almonds with bacon stuff from my fingers.
Place the wrapped stuffed dates in a baking dish and sprinkle with the seasoning blend of your choice – I like the Gateway to the North Blend from my guys in Milwaukee for stuff like this, but you could certainly use Montreal Steak Seasoning or any other widely available blend.
Bake for 30 or 40 minutes – turning after 15 minutes – until the bacon is done and crisp. I will confess, I popped these into the oven just before folk started to arrive, so never got around to turning them; so one end (side) was a bit crispitier than the other, but all was basically fine; so do what works for you.
You could also add a bit of cheese in the date with the almond – go for a really sharp Provolone or a nice Stilton or blue – it’s all good. And sweet and salty and rich tasting.