A few months ago on an episode of No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain made a comment that stuck with me almost as much as all the excellent dirty slang I’ve learned from his show. He was eating yummy food, and he said something to the effect that he was trying to use fewer adjectives to describe the food he ate on the show. He went on to simply state that the food he was eating at that moment was good.
It’s not that there is anything wrong with trying to find the right words to describe food–description and adjectives help another person decide whether it’s something that they would also like to eat. But Bourdain makes a valid point–when he slurps up the most delicious looking bowl of noodles in the history of the universe, served by a street vendor in Viet Nam, it doesn’t really matter how he describes it. I want it, but I’m not going to get to eat it any time soon anyway.
Last Sunday it was Rob’s turn to cook for the Amazing Race dinner party. And in the spirit of adjective reduction and simplification, I’m just going to say that when Rob cooks, it’s good. You can go out and buy Tom’s Big Dinners and make the same dinner, and if you are an awesome cook too, it will be good.
The Dates with Goat Cheese and Prosciutto were the one dish Rob made that wasn’t from Tom’s Big Dinners–this is a recipe that is pure, classic Rob goodness, an appetizer that everyone clamors for regularly.
Rob’s Dates with Goat Cheese and Prosciutto
- Medjool Dates
- Goat Cheese
- Basil leaves
So, you take a bunch of medjool dates, cut a slice in them down to the pit, then pull the pit out. If you do it just right you can cut down to the pit and halfway slide it out with the knife.
Then put a chunk of goat cheese (chevre, or honey chevre work well, even herbed chevre) into that, essentially what you can get away with stuffing into it.
Lay a basil leaf on top of that.
Wrap a strip of prosciutto around the whole thing.
You can used toothpicks that you’ve soaked in water for a bit to hold it together if you want, I don’t always necessarily do this and it works out ok.
Then, put under a broiler for 3 minutes or so, until the cheese bubbles a bit. Honestly it doesn’t need much and you could eat this all raw and it would be fine.
If I’m being stingy on prosciutto, which I usually am, opting to bulk produce as many of these as I can cause they’re so nummy, I will take a normal strip of prosciutto and cut it into 4 quadrants and use just a quadrant wrapped around. If you used a whole strip of prosciutto, it would wrap around 2 or 3 times, and probably be awesome, but also be kind of expensive if you made more than 8 of these.
OR, for our vegetarian friends, you can skip the prosciutto and basil, and instead sprinkle some chopped toasted walnuts and flat-leaf parsley on it, and then drizzle it with a ruby port/honey reduction.
The reduction is made by doing 1 cup of port, and a few tablespoons of honey and reducing it down to a 1/3 of a cup or so of tasty thickness.
Another variant, add an almond, maybe even a marcona almond to it instead of the walnut and parsley bit.
Point is, dates plus goat cheese = awesomeness.