Dates and goat’s cheese, a classic Middle Eastern combination that works as an appetizer, nosh, or dessert.
Stately date palms grace many streets in the Middle East, giving the landscape an unforgettable silhouette. In Israel, municipalities prune their date palms and give out the big, rustling leaves gratis to those who like to roof their succot with them. Many families decorate their succah with an entire bunch of fresh yellow dates.
And for easy recipes appropriate to Succot, try the combination of moist Medjool dates with a chunk of salty goats cheese, preferably one with blue veins running though it.
I’ve already almost given you the first recipe. Little remains but to drizzle the combination with silan, Middle Eastern date honey, and olive oil. But here’s the procedure for:
Goat’s Cheese and Dates
As many chunks of goat’s cheese as servings needed, plus more for stuffing extra dates
3 Medjool dates per serving
1 tablespoon silan date honey, mixed with 1 teaspoon olive oil, per serving
Remove the pit from each date.
Arrange each chunk of cheese on a plate and place one date on top.
Stuff about a teaspoon of cheese into each of the other dates. Place them attractively around the cheese.
Drizzle the silan/oil mixture over the cheese and date. Drizzle a little more over each date on the side.
Serve, and enjoy.
Dates Baked With Goat Cheese
recipe via Williams-Sonoma
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons fine dried bread crumbs
24 Medjool dates
125 grams – 1/4 lb. soft goat cheese
Preheat an oven to 375°F.
Lightly oil a baking dish just large enough to hold the dates in a single layer.
In a small fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring constantly, until the bread crumbs are evenly golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, transfer the bread crumbs to a plate and let cool.
Using a small knife, make a small lengthwise incision in each date. Carefully remove the pits. Stuff 1 tsp. of the goat cheese into the cavity left by each date’s pit. Arrange the dates, with the goat cheese side facing up, in the prepared dish.
Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over the top. (The dates can be prepared up to this point up to 24 hours in advance. Store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator.)
Bake the dates until warmed through, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and serve warm.
More delicious sweet things to serve in the succah:
Image of goat’s cheese and dates via shutterstock.
Miriam also blogs at Israeli Kitchen.