'Tis the season... for finding appetizers and entrees that can be made ahead. Am I right? Dishes that don't require much fuss and can be pretty easily served to guests without a lot of on-the-spot, time-sensitive cooking. Otherwise, entertaining is more work than fun.
These are a spin off a fairly common appetizer that you've probably had in one form or another. I usually wrap them (or figs) in bacon and bake them, but I thought that with cured Serrano ham, they'd be just as good served at room temperature. Turns out, they are! I love the idea of serving these in lieu of, or in addition to, a charcuterie board. They are so pretty and festive looking in red and green!
Here's to pulling off the holidays!
Goat cheese stuffed dates with Serrano ham and basil
Yields about 24 bites
6 oz (or about 12) Medjool dates, sliced in half the long way and pitted
2 oz or so goat cheese
24 medium basil leaves
¼ lb thinly sliced Serrano ham
Flaky sea salt and black pepper
Stuff each date half with a little less than a teaspoon (maybe ¾) of goat cheese. Sprinkle each with a bit of black pepper. Slice the Serrano ham lengthwise, and then in half, so that you have 24 4½ inch long pieces. Place a basil leaf on each stuffed date half, and then roll it with a slice of ham. Secure it with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining dates. Sprinkle each with flaky sea salt, and serve, or cover and store in fridge until ready to serve. Serve at room temperature.