Dátiles rellenos envueltos con bacon or stuffed dates wrapped in bacon are one of the oldest tapas or skewers to be found in the cuisine of Spain. They had their moment of glory, but as the years went by they have been almost forgotten. For this tapa, plump dates are filled with cream cheese and almonds, then wrapped in a slice of bacon.
This tapa is traditional from Elche, where date palms abound. Specifically, they are said to have originated in the Hotel Huerto del Cura, owned by the Orts family, where the well-known Imperial Palm Grove of Elche is housed.
The dates were served for the first time at an inauguration in 1972. The concept behind this tapa was that the dates would be cooked instead of fresh, which was the usual way to eat them.
The combination was well received and became popular. Probably at that time it was unusual that the food served combined sweet and savory flavours. Soon this tapa reached Madrid and many other places, where it became very popular.
This very simple tapa, despite being old-fashioned, continues to make smile those who try it.
- 10 Medjool dates
- 10 bacon slices
- 20-30 roasted almonds
- cream cheese
- Cut the dates in half, lengthwise, without dividing them into two pieces. Remove the stones.
- Fill with cream cheese and 2-3 almonds, depending on the size.
- If you don't favour cream cheese, fill only with 2-3 almonds.
- Wrap a slice of bacon around the date and secure with a toothpick.
- Repeat the process with the rest of the dates.
- Place a medium skillet over medium heat.
- Cook the stuffed dates until the bacon turns slightly golden brown and crispy.
- Remove from the skillet and serve immediately
Tips to enjoy the most amazing dátiles rellenos:
- We recommend you to use the variety of Medjool dates, they are much more fleshy and boast an incredible taste unlike the usual store-bought stuff, which are often very dry.
- Cream cheese can be used or not, to your choice. Personally we prefer to use the cheese because it provides creaminess.
- The almonds can be replaced by any other nuts that you prefer.
- The dates only need about 30-40 seconds, enough to acquire a golden and slightly crunchy tonality.
- If the bacon does not release too much fat to be cooked; a tablespoon of olive oil can be used to better fry the dates and prevent from drying.
- Dátiles rellenos can be eaten hot or cold. If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for 2 days.
These dátiles rellenos envueltos con bacon or stuffed dates wrapped in bacon are perfect for anyone who loves the combination of sweet and savory flavors. They’re sure to surprise you.
Enjoy them with a cold vermouth and a sunset in good company.