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Chef's Choice 60 Days of Holiday Edition: Bacon

Dec, 30 2020

Uncategorized

Chef's Choice 60 Days of Holiday Edition: Bacon

Bacon-Wrapped Parmigiano-Stuffed Dates

These simple, sweet and savory bites are perfect accompaniments to your New Year's party appetizers. They pair wonderfully with sparkling wine and champagne. They are quite decadent, two per person being plenty if when you're planning out your appetizer menu.

Costco often has large containers of beautiful, pitted Medjool dates at an extraordinarily low price. They can be stored in your pantry for months.

 

Ingredients:

  • 12 Medjool dates, pitted
  • ½ pound Parmigiano-Reggiano, whole (not grated or shaved)
  • 12 slices thick-cut bacon

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350*F
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cut parmesan the length of the dates, ¼" wide.
  • Stuffed each date with a piece of cheese.
  • Wrap each date in a slice of bacon.
  • Place the dates on the baking sheet, bacon cut side facing down.
  • Bake in oven 15-20 minutes, until crispy brown.
  • Drain briefly on a paper towel.
  • Serve immediately while still warm.
  • Garnish with freshly grated Parmigiano on top
 

Chef's Notes:

  • 6 or 9-month Manchego cheese can be substituted for the Parmigiano.
  • A firm blue cheese such as Maytag can be substituted, as well. In fact, you can wrap the blue cheese around an almond and stuff both inside the date.
  • Try to use the largest, most plump, dates.
  • If dates are small, try precooking the bacon for five minutes in the oven before wrapping the dates. That will allow the dates to crisp up nicely.
  • I prefer thick-cut dates but, regular-cut bacon works too. Reduce cooking time so the bacon doesn't overcook.
   

Savory Bacon Bread Pudding

I serve several versions of savory bread pudding throughout the year. This one is inspired by Bar Tartine restaurant in San Francisco. I am crazy for Chad Robertson's country bread recipe from his "Tartine Cookbook" and have been making his bread recipe for a while. This bread is perfect in this recipe but, any day-old crusty batard or boule will work.

Ingredients:

    • 6 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into ½" pieces
    • 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cut into ½" cubes
    • ¼ cup fresh sage, chopped
    • 5 cups torn day-old country-style bread (3/4" to 1" pieces)
    • 6 large eggs
    • 2 cups whole milk (Do not use skim)
    • 1 tablespoon salt

    Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400*F.
  • Place cheese, sage, bacon, and bread in a large bowl.
  • Beat eggs and milk together.
  • Whisk in salt.
  • Pour the custard over the dry ingredients and let the mixture sit for 15 minutes.
  • Pour the mixture into a greased 4" x 8" greased loaf pan and cover with aluminum foil.
  • Bake for 45 minutes.
  • Remove foil and bake for another 15-20 or until it is nicely browned on top.
  • Cool for 15 minutes before slicing.

Chef's Notes:

This can be made the day before. To serve, fry slices in a skillet until warm and brown on both sides.

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