Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Salted dates

Warm salted dates: serve atop crackers or toast rounds spread with creamy goat cheese for a quick and easy, sweet and savory appetizer.

Serve salted dates with crackers and goat's cheese for a sweet and savory appetizer

I'm a huge fan of simple but delicious food, particularly when it comes to entertaining. I prefer to be part of the party, enjoying the food and sipping a cocktail, rather than stuck in the kitchen heating up trays of appetizers or tending the sterno.

(Does anyone even use sterno anymore? And what the hell is that goey crap anyway?)

So if, as I am, you are a fan of Molly Wizenberg, she of Orangette and A Homemade Life fame, you'll know that I expected simple but delicious food when I started reading her latest book, Delancey, for the FSC Book Club.

And I was not disappointed.

Molly's recipe for sauteed dates with olive oil and sea salt jumped out at me for two main reasons:
  1. I'm a new convert to the awesomeness of dates, naturally sweet and just a little chewy -- and way more ass-kicking than a freakin' raisin
  2. The name of the recipe is also the ingredient list -- nothing could be simpler than that.

Just warm some olive oil in a pan, roll the pitted dates around in it to warm them up and let them soak up the oil and release their natural sugars, then sprinkle them with crunchy sea salt.


Molly suggests eating them for breakfast, stirred into a bowl of plain yogurt. While that sounds yummy, to me they screamed out to be paired with cheese for a sweet-and-savory appetizer, much the way that fig jam or paste is the perfect complement to manchego cheese.

So keep it simple: spread some creamy goat cheese or ricotta on toasted rounds of bread or crackers and top it off with some of these salted dates, chopped and preferably still warm. 

I may need to start throwing more cocktail parties, just to be able to show off my new go-to appetizer.

What's your favorite super-simple appetizer? Leave a comment: The Ninj wants to know.

Warm salted dates: a delicious appetizer or enjoy them in your breakfast yogurt

Warm Salted Dates

from Molly Wizenberg's Delancey

1 cup whole dried pitted dates
Olive oil
Crunchy large-grain salt (I used Maldon sea salt flakes)

Pour enough olive oil in a skillet to coat the bottom. Warm the oil over medium heat and add the dates, stirring to coat. Cook gently, moving the dates around frequently to prevent scorching, until the dates are soft and warm and have absorbed some of the oil. Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl and sprinkle generously with crunchy salt. I suggest serving them, chopped, with crackers or toast rounds and soft goat cheese.
-- print recipe --


  1. One of my favorite simple appetizers is also goat cheese; roll a log of it in sesame seed (or not, it's good either way), drizzle with honey and sprinkle with fresh raspberries. serve with's clearly very easy and quite tasty.

    My first reaction to this post was "dates? how crazy is that?" but the more I started thinking about it, it seems really good, and I love the idea of pairing them with goat cheese. This sounds easy enough for me to accomplish successfully, I might just give it a shot at my next gathering.

    1. Ooh, yours sounds delicious and easy (my fave!), too. I think you'll really like this one -- give the dates a chance. :-)

  2. Perfect! I have so dates Costco i know to do with them. Will try this!!