Devils on Horseback

9 Aug

DSCN0141

Part XXXVIII: Apocalypse Now-ish

Naming recipes is all about managing expectations.

On the one hand, you gotta make sure people know what they’re eating.  That’s kind of important.  You tell them they’re ordering apple pie and they find out it’s got braised rhubarb and sweet corn ice cream on the side, and people are gonna start getting all uppity about your innovation.  It’s because you didn’t give them expectations.  Most people are boring and can’t handle paying 10 clams for something unexpected; it’s sad, but that’s the way it is.  

On the other hand, you don’t wanna be boring, either.  Some nice-ass couple drives a heavy 45 minutes through the hills to get to your dinner party and you tell them you’re just making roast chicken?  It doesn’t matter if that’s the most spectacular, juicy roast chicken in the world; they already got one word on their tongues: BORING.  They’re expecting it, and even if it’s better than they’re expecting, it’s going to be weighed down and bored down by those expectations.  

So it’s on you, mister or miss attempted chef, to come up with something that you start tasting the minute you hear it.  Something that sounds so unreasonably awesome that you’re willing to put down a down payment for a plate of it.  Something like Devils on Horseback.

If I told you we were having Bacon-Wrapped Dates stuffed with Goat Cheese, you’d probably get excited, sure.  But you’d also get winded just reading through half of that long-ass name.  But Devils on Horseback?  Simple, evocative, and most-importantly, free of misconception, because you don’t know what the hell it is. You just know you want it.

Here’s what you need:

– 12 oz. medjool dates (get them pitted if you can, otherwise you’re gonna have to pit them yourself)

–  1 lb. bacon (this is the only time in the HISTORY of this blog I’m gonna say this, but don’t get the thick kind.  You’ll see why later)

– 4 oz. goat cheese

– toothpicks

Here’s how you do it:

Split

First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Pit the dates if you were unfortunate enough to not find the pre-pitted ones, and split them open.

Too much.

Fill them with goat cheese.  You don’t need a lot, just enough to be able to close it securely.  See that picture up there?  That’s too much.

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Next, wrap each of the dates in half a strip of bacon, then pierce them through with a toothpick.  Some people think you have to soak the toothpicks in some water before you use them, but I’ve tried it both ways and the only difference I’ve seen is added sogginess.  And there’s nothing cool or un-gross about soggy bacon.

A baking sheet like this, for instance.

A baking sheet like this, for instance.

Arrange the dates on a baking sheet and MAKE SURE you use one with a tall rim, otherwise you’re gonna have bacon grease spilling all over your oven.

Stick them in the oven for 10 minutes, then flip and put them back in for another 12-15, until the bacon’s nice and crisp.

Let those cool off for a a few minutes, take them off the baking sheet, and you’re set.

Cool yourself off with a track from Knx, too.  This week its suit&tie.sht_:

Presentation is way more than just flopping some steaks on a plate and putting a cold piece of parsley on top.  Most of the real presentation starts before you even sit down at the table.  It starts in your head, people.  Get people talking on the car ride over, and they’ll be talking on the ride back.  Simple as that.

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One Response to “Devils on Horseback”

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