Are you as excited as I am about watching TV this Sunday? The suspense, the egos, the drama – man, I love those commercials!
Another reason to get excited about this Sunday? An excuse to eat nothing but snacks and appetizers all day long. Sometimes I wish every meal could be comprised of nothing but appetizers. (And aren’t the hors d’oeuvres always the best part of a wedding or any catered event? Why is that?)
If you’re looking for a super-simple, super-delicious appetizer for Sunday, or for any day, try these 3-ingredient Blue Cheese and Bacon Dates (with Green Olive Tapenade, but that adds a few more ingredients). Not a fan of dates? I bet that’s because you’ve never tried them stuffed with blue cheese and snuggled in bacon, baked until the three ingredients meld into one crisp, salty-sweet, mind-blowing bite. (Did that all just sound like a commercial?)
The Green Olive Tapenade provides a nice (and I would say important) acidic counterpoint to the candy-like date “kisses”. It also makes a great dip on its own, for any vegan/vegetarian/paleo/gluten-free friends who might stop by. If you don’t want to take the 30 seconds it takes to dump olives into a food processor and hit ‘pulse’, you could use store-bought tapenade (preferably without anchovies), or even set out a small bowl of balsamic vinegar for dipping instead. (Just watch for drips, especially if you have white carpeting or marble countertops.)
Blue Cheese and Bacon Dates with Green Olive Tapenade
- 24 pitted dates (or as many as you feel like making)
- 12 slices of bacon, cut in half crosswise (I prefer “center-cut” because it’s leaner and the slices are shorter)
- Small chunk of blue cheese (approx. 2 ounces), cut into 24 almond-sized slivers
- Green olive tapenade for serving (recipe below)
Heat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Cut dates in half. Onto half of the date halves, add a sliver of blue cheese. Place the other date halves on top and press together.
Tightly wrap the stuffed dates in bacon (the bacon’s stretchy so don’t be afraid to pull on it). Place seam-side down onto prepared baking sheet. (A lot of people use toothpicks to keep the bacon wrapped around the dates, but I find it’s unnecessary. I just sample any that might come unwrapped.)
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bacon is crisp. Using tongs, transfer bacon dates to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
While dates are baking, make the Green Olive Tapenade. (Though it could also be made several days ahead and refrigerated.)
Green Olive Tapenade
- 1 jar pitted green Spanish olives, drained (approx. 5-6 oz.)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 splash (1 Tablespoon) olive oil
- 1 splash (1 Tablespoon) sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley leaves (optional)
Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until all incorporated. Add a little more olive oil for a smoother consistency, if desired.
Serve bacon dates hot, warm, or at room temperature. Toothpicks optional, depending on how fancy you want to be. A small spoon for the tapenade is helpful, though, to help get enough of it onto the bacon/date bites.