A traditional northern Spanish pintxo, this recipe is adapted from the restaurant Boqueria in New York City, soon to open in Washington, D.C. (171 Spring St., New York, NY; 1837 M St., Washington, D.C.). The dish consists of dates stuffed with almonds and Valdeon (a strong Spanish blue cheese), wrapped in bacon. The flavor is surprising, reminiscent of a burnt marshmallow. Serve as the restaurant does, three on a skewer, or individually, one per toothpick.
Makes 16 servings
16 Medjool dates, pits removed
8 teaspoons of Valdeon cheese, or other strong blue cheese
16 Marcona almonds
16 strips of streaky bacon or raw ham such as Serrano, each approximately 5 inches long
Canola oil for frying
Remove date pits by slicing into one side, so that the date resembles a clamshell. Take out the pit. Place 1/2 teaspoon cheese and one Marcona almond inside the date. Wrap the date with one slice of bacon and skewer the date with a toothpick.
Once all dates are prepared, add ample oil for frying to a pan. The amount will vary depending on the size of the pan; the oil should be about 1 inch deep. Heat the oil to 350 degrees. If you do not have thermometer, stick a wooden spoon into the oil. If bubbles form around the spoon, the oil is ready for frying. Carefully drop the dates in and fry for about 2 minutes, or until bacon browns. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel to drain. Let cool and serve.