Sweet and Savory Prosciutto Wrapped Dates

A date. Simple and sweet, wrinkled and brown. It is not the beauty on the block like a bright yellow mango, or a vibrant pink papaya. It may not be as juicy, or as colorful as its other tropical friends, but its versatility is what makes it unique. No need for peeling, no need for much preparation time, simply pit and eat. Yum.

Dates are great for the active folk. They are a pure source of energy, and carry a big punch for their size. One date alone has 66 calories, primarily made of sugar and fiber. It is nature’s purest candy. So for those hiking the trails of the Pacific Northwest to runners and athletes alike, dates are a great way to stay fueled. Within a serving you will find many vitamins and minerals essential for energy production, muscle contraction, and nerve function. The big star of the date is potassium. Potassium, along with sodium, helps regulate the activity of muscle contraction and nerve function. Copper, manganese, magnesium, and b vitamins, are also found in this sweet treat. Not to mention, one date alone, offers 2 grams of fiber. The instant fuel, plus fiber, vitamins, and minerals, give your body exactly what it needs to power your brain and muscles throughout the day. 

I often use dates in place of sugar in baking, making salad dressings, in raw desserts, or even for sweet and savory appetizers. However, my favorite way is to serve them stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in prosciutto. The sweetness of the date, the salty prosciutto, and the creamy goat cheese, make a masterpiece in minutes. Nobody can get enough once they have had a taste of these little bits of heaven.   

A big green salad, a glass of good red wine, and prosciutto wrapped dates, transform a simple dinner into an elegant evening. So please, make these at home and share with your dear friends on the back porch in the evening sun. I know you will enjoy these as much as I do.  

Prosciutto Wrapped Dates
Makes 2 Servings
6 medjool dates
3 slices prosciutto
fresh plain goat cheese (small package will do)

1.  Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
2.  Slice dates down the middle on one side. Pit the date. Make sure only to cut through one side. You want to make a pocket out of the date. 
3.  Fill the inside of date with goat cheese. I use a butter knife and smear about a tsp worth of goat cheese into each. 
4. Press the dates closed. 
5.  Cut the 3 slices of prosciutto in half the long way. Use one half per date. Roll up the date so that the end piece of the prosciutto is on the bottom and the slit is facing up. This way you keep the prosciutto from unwrapping and the goat cheese from flowing out. 
6. Place wrapped dates onto baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes. You want the prosciutto to get nice and crispy. 
7. Serve immediately. 

Optional: To kick it up a notch further use either a balsamic reduction or a local honey to make zig-zags or swirls on the plate. Place the hot dates on top.

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