cuisine + culture + california

pig as a blanket

In the world of culinary fetishes, bacon is king.  No other product has attained this gut-busting level of popularity, creating an utter obsession that – in some regions of the world – borders on religious fantacism.  There are now week-long festivals dedicated to bacon.  We eat bacon with chocolate and drink cocktails with bacon-infused vodka.  Websites have been created for the sole purpose of charting the history and global diaspora of grade A pork fat (, anyone?).  And even the culinary diehards at the CIA are starting to incorporate this historically inferior cut of meat into their repertoire on a seriously regular basis (although they still prefer the term pork belly).

My point is that everyone loves bacon.  But why?

From a scientific perspective, it’s pretty simple.  The reaction between heat, amino acids in the bacon, and reducing sugars in the fat is what ignites our taste buds, says Elin Roberts, Science Communications manager at the Centre for Life Education Centre in Newcastle.  This process, known as the Maillard Reaction, releases an abundance of flavors and smells that are highly concentrated in products like bacon.

Another explanation has to do with the 5 taste receptors: bitter, salty, sour, sweet, and umami.  Nutritionally-dense bacon is a powerful source of several of these, particularly the last one.  Umami is a Japanese term best translated as “pleasant savory taste,”  and is responsible for the satiating qualities of foods high in protein or fat.


The bottom line is that bacon tastes good.  Really good.   And regardless of the media’s attempt to scare us with alleged pork shortages and the health detriments of saturated fat, people around the world will continue to worship the smell, taste, and nostalgic experience of sizzling strips of pork belly.

Today’s recipe is a tribute to the bacon obsession.  Fresh dates are stuffed with apples, almonds, jalapeños, and goat cheese, then wrapped in a warm bacon blanket and baked to crispy perfection.  A drizzle of cabernet reduction finishes the dish and adds another layer of sweet to the salty, umami qualities of our favorite piece of meat.  Amen.

10 strips bacon
20 large dates, pitted
4oz goat cheese
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1 apple, diced
2 jalapeños, diced
cabernet reduction (click link for recipe)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Stuff the dates with cheese, apple, and jalapeño. Wrap each date with 1/2 strip of bacon and stab it with a toothpick to secure the blanket. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until bacon is crisp and cheese is melted. Serve with cabernet reduction.

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46 comments on “pig as a blanket

  1. I have never tried this combination of ingredients, especially dates and bacon! I am curious to taste it! I normally make the typical bacon wrapped scallops or bacon wrapped oysters, which are really tasty too!

  2. Sarah Skerik
    February 15, 2013

    A simpler but similar twist involves poking a toasted almond into a pitted date, wrapping it with bacon and baking as directed above. Instead of the wine reduction though, reduce some good-quality balsamic vinegar until it is syrupy, coating the back of a spoon. Drizzle that over your dates. Sweet, salty, acidic, crunchy. In a word, perfection.

  3. Silje Therese
    February 15, 2013

    Looks good and artistic :)

  4. factorymaid
    February 15, 2013

    BEAUTIFUL photo! makes me want to jump right in!

  5. northernmalewhite
    February 15, 2013

    always preferred sausages to bacon.

  6. BubliBeauty
    February 15, 2013

    yummy :)

  7. buyadsenseaccount
    February 15, 2013

    Thanks for this.. i love this article..

  8. segmation
    February 15, 2013

    I can’t wait to try out this awesome recipe. I never would have thought that dates would work in this list of ingredients. How did you come up with the additonal of the dates?

  9. kingsisle104
    February 15, 2013

    looks very yummy!

  10. allsid
    February 15, 2013

    Reblogged this on Grilling Montana and commented:
    Bacon wrapped Dates? Sounds like a good idea to me- Can’t wait to do these on the grill

  11. Serena
    February 15, 2013

    Really nice recipe and lovely picture! Thank you!

  12. chilliandmint
    February 15, 2013

    These little beauties look fantastic and I like your twists to the dish. I tend to call them ‘devils on horseback’ but I think thats the same thing as ‘pigs in blankets’. Delish indeed.

  13. B Gourley
    February 15, 2013

    Ummm, bacon.

  14. Mandy
    February 15, 2013

    I’ve had bacon wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese and they were delicious. I’ll definitely try this combination! Sounds amazing!

  15. Xraypics
    February 15, 2013

    Oh, the joy of it! I have a couple of jalapeños ripening in the garden, now there’s a good use for them. Yum! Tony

  16. Miss Elaine
    February 15, 2013

    Your introduction is so entertaining an informative. I’m a bacon purist and it still pulled me to your recipie

  17. Beyond Back Creek
    February 15, 2013

    What a recipe! It’s like a party for the mouth! Now just add some dark chocolate on the side, and all the basic food groups are covered :)

  18. rochann
    February 15, 2013

    Oh my, that sounds like heaven on a plate!

  19. rochann
    February 15, 2013

    I wonder if I could figure out a way to incorporate salmon into this intriguing dish….because that would be the bomb diggity.

  20. Rachelle Weymuller
    February 15, 2013

    Oh, I love this combo. Our local restaurant (I say singular because there are not many in the wild west where we live) make these and I am sure to get them every time I dine there. mmmmm
    Now I’m going to have to try it at home!

  21. srijana kattel
    February 16, 2013

    i have never eaten pork and by god blessing ma i never have to eat it but i am going to try this recipe with mutton or chicken :)

  22. sujunbd
    February 16, 2013

    Reblogged this on sujunbd.

  23. brothersanddash
    February 16, 2013

    It’s very captivating. It looks very good. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  24. Chef Jim
    February 16, 2013

    Love the idea of apple and jalapeno to the cheese to stuff the dates—added to my to be tried list, Thanx!

  25. fiftystatebanana
    February 16, 2013

    I ate a bag of bacon last weekend on a four hour road trip. I steered the car with one hand, the bacon with the other.

  26. varun321
    February 16, 2013

    I have had different versions of bacon wrapped dates in the past, and this seems especially good. I can’t wait to try it out!

  27. theyellowranger
    February 16, 2013

    Yum, sounds and looks wonderful! You’re right, bacon is king. My husband would put bacon on everything, including more bacon if he could. Great post.

  28. auriskim
    February 16, 2013

    Bacon, gouda cheese and jalapenos – I’m starbing just imagining! :)

  29. tokbuffy
    February 17, 2013


  30. Jessica of HolaYessica
    February 17, 2013

    I’ve had bacon and dates, but this sounds even better. What a great idea!

  31. You forgot one thing: locally-raised, humanely raised-bacon. Small farms matter big,

  32. OyiaBrown
    February 18, 2013

    Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

  33. suechienlee
    February 18, 2013

    A divine dish! The Spanish have a saying: ‘Del cerdo nos gustan hasta los andares’ (we love everything from pigs, even the way they walk). salud!

    • ajgetty
      February 19, 2013

      The Chinese have a saying “we eat anything but the legs” The table legs

  34. Al Kline
    February 18, 2013

    I thought bacon covered by chocolate was strange until I tasted it.

  35. ajgetty
    February 18, 2013

    A date with bacon How cool is that !!!

  36. Prairie Sweet
    February 18, 2013

    Talk about bacon obsession – I once received bacon flavoured dental floss that claimed to leave your breath “bacon fresh”. Your recipe sounds much better… haha :-)

  37. MaricelaG
    February 18, 2013

    I’m always looking for ways to includes bacon.

  38. Adam Day
    February 18, 2013

    Bacon. ‘Nuff said.

  39. sandwichsurprise
    February 19, 2013

    Two of my all-time favorite things: bacon and jalapeños. Yes, please.

  40. zaxman4
    February 19, 2013

    Looks yummy

  41. Alysha Webb
    February 20, 2013

    Those look and sound amazing. Thanks for the recipe and encouragement!

    February 25, 2013

    Thanks for sharing! Interesting reading about the “science of bacon flavor” and your recipe sounds really tasty. It inspired me to try many other ingredients the same way too!!

  43. Pingback: fajitas de tofu | SABOR

  44. beduwen
    February 25, 2013

    Nice! I usually stuff dates with cream cheese, chopped nuts and cinnamon for a dessert treat. This is a new twist.

  45. Anne
    February 28, 2013

    My mom ran a catering company for years, and her dates wrapped in bacon were always a favorite. I never thought to stuff the dates. Excellent idea!

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This entry was posted on February 3, 2013 by in Appetizers, FOOD and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .
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