Article Provided Courtesy of Amanda Martin, Event Planner and Food Enthusiast
Growing up in Midwestern suburbia I developed an adorably bland palate. I liked my steak gray with a big splooge of ketchup. I demanded my Mexican fare closely resemble a Chalupa. I consumed poultry exclusively in nugget form. I’m not proud of it, but somehow I was able to exist on this travesty of a diet into my early twenties.
2003: I was dating a guy I really liked. I once said to him “Yeah, but people don’t really drink vodka without like…juice,” and he laughed and laughed and asked about my upbringing. He came from fancy people and introduced me the joys of risotto and port. Once he invited me over to his apartment for dinner. He answered the door in a dress shirt, the lights were dim and Frank Sinatra was playing on the stereo. He dipped me – JUST like in the movies – and kissed me! The entire place was fragrant with steak that smelled expensive. Having marinated for a whole day, it was almost ready. He assured me that this was the best cut he could find as he pulled it out of the oven and began slicing it into thin strips as we chatted in the kitchen.
“Oooooh…it’s perfect!” He smiled at our dinner.
“You’re perfect,” I whispered into my wine glass. And then I saw it. Splayed on the platter like a crime scene — this steak was pink and to my horror, red in parts. But I ate that scary, perfectly done steak to be polite and it changed my life.
It probably would have happened eventually. Maybe it happened kinda late. But getting over my childhood fear of pink meat-and liking it!-was a kind of big deal. Why was I not trying new stuff all the time?
Fast-forward a decade and this girl is obsessed with three food words that would make no sense to my old self: Dates. Feta. Prosciutto. It’s a threesome made in heaven. The dates are like candy, the cheese gives a soft creamy tang, and the prosciutto wraps the whole ensemble in a crunchy salty hug. I didn’t make this genius concoction up, but I won’t be mad if you give me credit for it.
1 Package of Dates – Ideally you will find ones that are already pitted. I did not and so I have included instructions on how to pit them below.
3/4-1 Cup of Feta (any soft, flavorful cheese will do. Bleu, goat and Feta are all tried and true!)
(1) Package Prosciutto
- Preheat your oven to 350 for about 15 minutes
- Pit the dates (if necessary). Take the tip of a sharp knife and make a slit “along the grain” on one side of the date. The date will open up and the pit will come out easily.
- Stuff ‘em. I use a cute tiny spoon. Each date should hold around 1/4 teaspoon of cheese. Fill the dates and set aside. If they are a little overstuffed all the better-the prosciutto will hold everything in place while they bake.
- Swaddle the dates in a fashionable pork overcoat. I can usually get four dates per prosciutto slice, but it will vary depending on the size of your dates and prosciutto. It’s not necessary to cover every inch-I typically wrap around the middle once or twice. You can stick a toothpick through them if you like, but I find that they stay together well on their own.
- Bake for 3 minutes, then turn and bake for an additional 5 minutes. When the prosciutto is crispy and they are hot throughout they are ready to go. If I especially like the people I am making these for I will add a drizzle of honey. Serve hot and be prepared to graciously accept compliments!