If you’re heading out to a Memorial Day cookout this weekend (or having a party yourself), I have the perfect appetizer to WOW the guests! Bacon wrapped things! The olives are spicy and crunchy, the dates are sweet, creamy and salty. They’re both the perfect combination of tastes and textures.
I really have no idea where this recipe came from. A few years ago we went to a party where these were served. Everyone went wild over them. I figured out the recipe. Afterwards every time we went to a party the host would ask me to bring them. So I did. They became my signature item.
Bacon Wrapped Olives
- 1 large jar (283g) jalapeno stuffed olives
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp Tabasco
- 1 Tble Worcestershire sauce
- 1 lb. pepper bacon, cut in 3-4 inch strips
Drain olives and set aside. Combine lemon juice, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce in a large bowl. Mix well. Wrap each olive in bacon strip and secure with a toothpick as seen above. Place bacon wrapped olives in marinade and stir well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes to ensure all olives are equally marinated. After olives have marinated sufficiently, drain from marinade and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until bacon is done. Remove olives to a serving plate and squeeze with a lemon wedge (optional).
Unlike the olive recipe, I know where the bacon wrapped dates came from. A few years ago, when we were in New York City we discovered a wonderful tapas restaurant called Boqueria. We absolutely fell in love with it. We have since visited the restaurant in Washington, DC as well as the SoHo location in NYC every time we’re there. They serve a date stuffed with an almond, Valdeón (a Spanish blue cheese) wrapped in bacon then deep fried. When we returned home from that trip, I wanted to recreate those dates, pronto! I used a mixture of goat and cream cheese instead of the Valdeón. I like the sharp tanginess of the goat cheese with the smooth, creaminess of the cream cheese. It goes beautifully with the sticky sweetness of the date and the crispy saltiness of the bacon. Yum!
Bacon Wrapped Dates
- 8 oz pitted dates (I used a Deglet Noor date from Algeria)
- 2 oz goat cheese, softened
- 2 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 lb applewood smoked bacon, cut in 3-4 inch strips
- honey for drizzling
Place cheeses in a small bowl and blend until smooth. Set aside. Carefully slice each date through to the middle (but not all the way through!) to create a pocket for the cheese mixture. Using a small spoon (I used a baby spoon) fill each date with with some of the cheese (see above). Wrap each cheese filled date with the bacon, seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. You can secure the bacon with a toothpick, but I don’t like how it looks so I don’t. Bake at 300 degrees for 30-40 minutes until bacon is done. Remove to a serving tray and drizzle with honey while they’re still hot.
These two appetizers will knock the socks off your friends and family!