With a name like "Devils on Horseback," you know you have to try it. With only two ingredients, how could you not? Quite simply, Devils on Horseback are dates wrapped in bacon and baked into a rich, smoky savory bite. It's hardly a recipe and has been kicked around forever at cocktail parties here and across the pond in England. It's on bar menus at swanky NYC hotspots like The Spotted Pig and just the thing to whip up when you're busy during the holidays.
Like any recipe with a few ingredients, pay close attention to quality. Medjool dates (the largest, sweetest and most abundant) are ideal. There's a lot of artisanal bacon out there to choose from, but for this recipe good old Oscar Mayer is all you need. It's not sliced too thick or too thin and has just the right amount of smokiness to balance the sweet date. A great option is stuffing a little gorgonzola cheese in the date. The vacated pit makes for a good nesting spot. If you're not a fan of Gorgonzola, any hard cheese will do. Don't like cheese? Try a nut like a dry roasted almond or pecan.
Devils on Horseback
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Makes: about 2 dozen
1 pound pitted Medjool dates
1 pound sliced bacon
1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese (optional)
24 whole almonds or small pecans, roasted (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil. Place a wire rack on top, so bacon drippings have a place to go.
Replace the pit with a little cheese or a nut in the center of the date. Cut bacon in half crosswise and wrap one slice of bacon around one date lengthwise. Make sure the seam is under the date so it doesn't unravel as it cooks.
Bake 20-25 minutes until bacon is brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels. Serve with toothpicks and cocktails.