Monday, April 26, 2010

From The Kitchen: Spinach Salad with Bacon Wrapped Dates

I try to eat a primarily vegetarian diet. My good intentions and willpower often take the backseat, however, when I come in contact with foods that cannot be not eaten. For instance, if I see the words "bacon wrapped dates" on a menu at a restaurant, as I did last week at Cafe Nola on Bainbridge Island, then it's a done deal. I love bacon. I love dates. Together? I could only imagine the possibilities! I decided to recreate the dish at home.

My spinach salad at Cafe Nola had a slice of herb goat cheese on top. I chose this herb goat cheese from Cypress Grove Chevre at Whole Foods. The label's nice too. I sampled the cheese beforehand: very creamy, and fairly herby. They add Herbs de Provence, and I could strongly taste the thyme.

At the restaurant, the dates were cooked inside the bacon, all wrapped up. So the question when making my own was, do I wrap the dates in the bacon and cook, or cook the bacon a little first then wrap around the dates? I did an experiment and tried both.

In short, neither way worked perfectly. If you cook the bacon first, you'll ensure a quicker and more even doneness, however you won't be able to wrap the bacon around the date. Even when I wrapped the bacon around the date first, most of them fell apart. Toothpicks would solve this problem (we were out).

One of the successful bacon wrapped dates.

However, they tasted just as good with the dates on top of the bacon. So I declared the entire dinner a success.

When cooking with bacon, Pug is never very far away.

He tries to be very patient while we're eating dinner.

Pug has us wrapped around his little finger. He got a tiny piece of bacon.

Spinach Salad with Bacon Wrapped Dates:

baby spinach
goat cheese
thick sliced bacon
pitted deglet noor dates

Arrange the salad how you like. Top with goat cheese. Wrestle the bacon around the dates somehow and cook, or cook and then wrestle. Arrange bacon wrapped dates around the plate and top with a vinaigrette.