Wolgang Puck's Bacon Wrapped Dates
I love this easy appetizer’s combination of sweet, salty, nutty, meaty, and smoky flavors and smooth, creamy, and crispy textures — all wrapped up in just an intense bite or two. The effect works best when you seek out ingredients of the highest quality. You’ll need a wooden toothpick to secure each stuffed and wrapped date for baking and serving. And let me add one more important word of advice: People will love these so much that you might want to plan on making multiple batches.
— Wolfgang Puck
18 large dates, preferably Medjool, slit lengthwise and pitted
18 pieces good-quality Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano, each about 1-by-¼-inch
6 slices good-quality smoked bacon, cut crosswise into thirds
1. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Insert a piece of Parmesan into each date. Wrap each date with 1 piece of bacon, securing it with a wooden toothpick.
3. Arrange the dates 1 inch apart in a shallow baking pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Then, using tongs, turn the dates over. Continue baking until the bacon is crisp, 5 to 6 minutes longer. With the tongs, transfer the dates to paper towels to drain, carefully patting them dry with more paper towels. Serve immediately.