Inspired from Wolfgang Puck’s Classic Oscar Night Appetizer
By Chef Mark Shoopman of Lutheran Hillside Village.
20 Each Large fresh dates slit lengthwise and pitted.
20 slices Hardwood smoked bacon
2 tablespoons Spicy brown sugar seasoning blend
20 each Long toothpicks
20 pieces Excellent quality Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, cut into 1inch by ¼ inch cubes
1 cup Aged Balsamic vinegar, 20 year or older is excellent quality
1. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Lay out the bacon and season lightly with the seasoning.
3. 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 with the balsamic reduction and then “Hit the Red Carpet”!
In a small sauce pan over medium heat, reduce the vinegar by half until it nicely coats the back of a spoon. For lesser quality vinegars reduce by ¾ to reach the correct intense flavor.
Remove from heat and keep warm for service.
Spicy Brown Sugar seasoning Blend
1 cup Brown sugar
½ cup Kosher salt
2 tablespoons Onion powder
1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper, more if you desire it hotter
2 teaspoons Dried oregano
2 teaspoons Dried thyme
1 tablespoon Granulated garlic
1 tablespoon Freshly ground black pepper
- Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container.
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