Bacon Wrapped Dates with Manchego, Romesco Sauce - (Free Recipe below)


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A Tapas Party – Bacon Wrapped Dates with Manchego, Romesco Sauce

Spanish Tapas Bacon Wraped Dates Stuffed with Manchego Cheese, Romesco Sauce

  • Sweet
  • Smoky
  • Salty

Those three adjectives describe this Tapas-style amuse-bouche.

 use that word because amuse-bouches are different from appetizers in that they are created by the chef to excite the taste buds of the guests before their meal.  These one-bite temptations offer a glimpse into the chef’s culinary journey that you will be partaking in that evening.  I pair these small bites with a complementing wine or a cocktail.

What would be a more perfect amuse-bouche for a Spanish Tapas party than smoky bacon wrapped around sweet dates stuffed with salty Manchego cheese?  The dish takes minutes to prepare and bakes in less than 30 minutes.  I like to serve the dates with a Spanish romesco sauce to highlight the Spanish theme.  A drizzle honey and fresh cracked black pepper over the freshly baked dates is another quick alternative.

Norpie’s Wine Pairing Tip:

I like to pair regional wines with regional cuisine, so I choose a Spanish Rioja Cortijo III Tinto 2009.  The Cortijo III was a typical Rioja with a soft flavors of ripe fruit with a gamy touch to the nose.  This light-bodied, crisp Rioja red wine, blended from 80%Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha, paired well with this amuse-bouche.  It is good to start with a light-bodied wine then building up to the more complex food and wine pairings over the Tapas courses.

What you will need:

1 (12 ounce) container Medjool dates, pitted
1 pound thick sliced hardwood smoked bacon
1/4 pound Manchego cheese
Freshly cracked black pepper

Romesco Sauce

Let’s get started:

Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil & set a metal cooling rack on top.
Remove the pits from the dates by making a small slice into the date with a paring knife.  Gently slide a finger in to pop out the pit & discard.
Chop a pieces of the Manchego cheese large enough to stuff inside the date.
Place one stripe of bacon on a cooking board & slice into three equals sections.  Take one section & wrap around the cheese stuffed date; Set seem side down on cooling rack.  Repeat with remaining dates.
Grind fresh black pepper on top of bacon wrapped dates & bake until the bacon is crisp – 20 to 30 minutes.

Serve with Romesco sauce or honey drizzled over the top.

12 to 15 one-bite servings

Candied with Brown Sugar 

This appetizer recipe is super easy and delicious. And watch out, because it's also addicting! The sweet flavor of the dates and brown sugar combine with the salty bacon flavor and the cheeses to create an irresistible holiday treat.
"Baked stuffed dates are edible jewels. The dates are like smooth caramels, and the surprise cheese filling is the “oh-yeah” factor. I like to make a plateful, set them on the counter, and let my guests help themselves. They’re not shy."—Amy Tabor


½ cup goat cheese
¼ cup cream cheese
20 whole dried dates,
split and pitted
7 slices of bacon, cut into thirds
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (optional)


Preheat oven to 400° F. Combine cheeses until blended. Open each date and stuff with one full teaspoon of the cheese mixture. (Alternate: Substitute Gorgonzola cheese for cheese mixture.) Pinch the dates closed and wrap each date with 1/3 slice of bacon. Secure with a toothpick if needed. If desired, roll in brown sugar for a candied exterior.

Arrange the stuffed dates seam side down, on foil-wrapped baking sheet or broiler pan. Bake the dates on one side for 10 minutes. Flip the dates over with tongs or a fork. Cook dates for another 5-8 minutes or until the bacon is crispy. Transfer dates to a paper towel, and drain for 5 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 20 appetizers.

Step-by-Step Photos

Assemble ingredients

Combine cheeses, stuff the dates, and wrap with bacon

Roll in brown sugar (optional), secure with toothpicks if needed,
and bake in oven

Serve warm

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