Stuffed Dates to Remember

Chorizo-stuffed dates with piquillo pepper sauce.

The Restaurant Takeaway column is devoted to restaurant dishes you can make in your own kitchen, tested and tweaked for home cooks.

I’ve eaten my share of bacon-wrapped dates at cocktail parties and the like. Sometimes they are plain; sometimes they are filled with almonds or cheese. They are always tasty and never filling.

And this was exactly what I thought stuffed dates should be — until I had dinner at Avec in Chicago. There, I ate bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with spicy chorizo, surrounded by a silky tomato and piquillo pepper sauce.

This dish was not dainty hors d’oeuvres to be nibbled out of hand. It was a brawny appetizer that demanded a fork to scoop up the sausage emerging from the sweet dates. The flavors made perfect sense together; piquant, sweet, meaty, smoky and tangy notes in every bite, zinging over your tongue in different combinations and intensities. This is a dish that will never get dull.

My adaptation keeps the compelling flavors, but it scales down the dates so they are more compact. You could make them as an appetizer over sauce, as they do at Avec. But now the dates also work as hearty finger food. Serve with the sauce for dipping.

Recipe: Chorizo-Stuffed Dates With Piquillo Pepper Sauce

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