24 deglet noor dates, pitted
1/4 pound Parmigiano-Reggiano
Twenty-four 3-inch strips of very thinly sliced bacon
5 leaves flat-leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Using a small paring knife, cut a small slit across the length of each date.
Cut the cheese into approximately 1/2-inch-by-1/4-inch rectangles (the cheese will not cut into perfect shapes, but that’s OK).
Insert a piece of Parmigiano into each date.
Lay the strips of bacon out on a work space, next to each other. One by one, place each date at the end of a strip of bacon, and then carefully roll the date along the bacon strip, wrapping it tightly.
Place the bacon-wrapped dates on a roasting rack set in a baking sheet, and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown and crispy on the outside.
Arrange the dates in a bowl with the parsley leaves.
Remember to warn your guests that the dates are hot!
I often try to be thematically or regionally pure when selecting wines for pairings. In this case, the intense punch of Parmesan in these flavor-filled nibbles takes me to Italy, more specifically to Lambrusco and the sparkling red wines produced in the regions around Parma. These wines are usually served slightly chilled and consumed with snacks as an apéritif. Though they are made in a variety of styles, I normally opt for one that is high in acid and vinified dry. As a result, the wine’s touch of sweetness can mirror that of the dates without becoming cloying, while its acidity cuts through the fattiness of the bacon and cheese.
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