For the past few weeks, Matt and I have been on a Tour de Cleveland; eating our way through this great city's amazing restaurants. Since we are moving, our goal is to hit up each of our favorite spots prior to our departure.
Throughout this gluttonous journey, we have seen a trend. Farenheit. Hodge's. Tartine. All of these restaurants have this amazing little appetizer on their menus. And we can't resist ordering them every time.
So what is a girl who has a cooking blog to do? Recreate them of course! I actually made these over the 4th of July. Last night, we went to Farenheit with our good friends and got three orders of these. So it is fair to say that I have had my share of bacon wrapped dates in the past week. But right now, as I'm writing this, my stomach is growling and mouth is watering for more. A bacon-wrapped-date monster has been born. I. Can't. Stop.
Sweetness from the dates. Smokiness from the bacon. Spice from the chorizo. Creaminess from the cream cheese. Tang from the tomato sauce. If eating bacon wrapped chorizo stuffed dates is wrong, then I don't ever want to be right.
Bacon Wrapped Chorizo Stuffed Dates
1 cup sweet onion, diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pound ground raw chorizo
1 block (4 ounces) cream cheese
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
8 ounces medjool dates, pitted
2 packages thin cut bacon
Preheat large skillet over medium high heat and add the onions and olive oil. Cook for 4-6 minutes until soft and translucent. Add ground chorizo and break up meat with wooden spoon. Cook onions and chorizo until fully cooked. Remove from heat and drain grease from pan.
To the meat mixture, add cream cheese and basil. Mix until thoroughly combined. Set aside to cool.
Take pitted dates and slice down one side to open up the date. Repeat until all dates have been sliced. Using your hands, pinch about a 1/2 tablespoon's worth of meat mixture and stuff into each date. Once all dates have been stuffed, it's time to wrap them with bacon.
Place a wire cooking rack on top of a cookie sheet. Remove bacon from package and slice each piece in half. If the bacon slices are really wide, you might also want to slice each half piece of bacon lengthwise. You don't want the bacon to be too thickly wrapped around the date or it will not cook properly and crisp up.
Wrap each date with a half a slice of bacon. Make sure there is only one layer around the entire date so it will cook evenly. Also be sure to place the seam of the bacon underneath the date on the bottom. By doing this, you won't have to use pesky toothpicks.
Place dates into a 425 degree oven and cook for 18-22 minutes or until bacon is cooked and crispy. Remove from oven and let cool. Serve with a side of the Smokey Tomato Dipping Sauce.
Smokey Tomato Dipping Sauce
3 heirloom tomatoes, quartered
1 onion, cut into large pieces
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 garlic clove, raw
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Chop up tomatoes and onions the scatter on two sheet pans. On each pan, drizzle 1 tablespoon oil over each of the veggies as well as 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Toss to coat and then place int he oven.
Cook for about 25 minutes, tossing about halfway through. Remove from oven once the vegetables are cooked and caramelized.
To a blender, add cooked onions and tomatoes (and all the juices), garlic clove, cream and liquid smoke. Blend for about a minute until smooth. Season to taste with more salt and pepper.
Serve as a dipping sauce for dates. You will have leftover sauce and it can be used to top chicken or toss with pasta.