One of my favorite indulgent appetizers is a bacon-wrapped date with an almond stuffed in it. A couple of my favorite friends would always have them when entertaining for me and my husband. For me, it showed how much they loved me. Making such a thoughtful, gluten-free treat that is gourmet, adult, and complex in flavors.
Last New Year's Year, this favorite played as an inspiration for a new creation: one that is easier to make (no cooking); more "healthy" with some green stuff in it; and more balanced complexity by addition of flavors and modifications.
Prosciutto rolls: a little date, fresh goat cheese, almonds, arugula, with pepper and herbs all wrapped up in a thin slice of cured meat. Easy to eat with the fingers in two bites. Perfectly balanced harmony of umami, sweet, creamy, peppery bitterness, and freshness from the greens. Differentiation of textures, too with the tender cured meat, chewiness of the date, crunch from the almonds, and crispness of the arugula. When I went to Whole Foods to purchase some prosciutto, I could not immediately find it. So, I bought a package of smoked salmon, too. Turned out great! These easy appetizers would work well with bresaola, too. Bresaola is one of my favorites: an Italian air-cured, thinly sliced beef. Reminds me of a more sophisticated chipped beef I grew up with. Can be found at Italian/specialty stores. For an extra fancy, impressive spread, you could make all three (prosciutto, salmon, bresaola) for a variety of flavors and colors. With these rolls, the sum is great than all of its parts. Therefore, the better quality ingredients will make for a more scrumptious roll. And the thinner the meat, the more you can see the arugula, which is a great look.
- Prosciutto, smoked salmon, and/or bresaola
- Black pepper, fresh ground
- Chives, fresh, finely chopped (optional)
- Goat cheese, fresh
- Almonds, roasted and salted (I used Marcona)
First, prep the dates by removing the pit and quartering lengthwise. Lay out the piece of meat/salmon flat on a cutting board. Season with fresh ground black pepper and chives (if using).
Place ¼ date at one end, centered. On that pack on the goat cheese and almonds (2-3 matching length of date). Compress lightly for best results when wrapping. Lay out the arugula along the length of the slice of meat/salmon.
Fold the meat/salmon over the date/cheese/almonds. If there is significant extra width, just fold over the meat/salmon just like an egg/spring roll. Continue rolling up, while making sure everything is snug in the roll but not too tight.
Arrange on a platter. Cover with plastic wrap. Serve chilled/room temperature. Enjoy!