At The Illuminati Ball, we serve Medjool Dates sautéed in very good olive oil and sprinkled with Maldone salt as an amuse bouche. Pairing sweet dates with salt, usually bacon or goat cheese is pretty classic. I didn’t invent the idea of simply using flakey salt rather than meat or dairy. I ate this delicious appetizer at The Boat Cafe in Seattle. So, all the credit for this stroke of genius goes to chef Renee Erickson. The Boat Street Cafe is now closed, but Renee Erickson has a cookbook called A Boat, A Whale & a Walrus which I mean to get for inspiration. I am also pretty obsessed with The Boat Cafe’s pickled plums which I make my own version of at homeI do have a bit of accidental genius to add to this dish though. In the kitchen at the Illuminati Ball a few weeks ago, everything was prepped and my kitchen assistant, Rosie, and I were just waiting for the audience to arrive. Our fabulous bartender, Bootleg Greg poured us each a shot of Jameson and I sautéed three extra dates and sprinkled them with flakey salt. We toasted, drank the shot and then bit into the date. Well actually, I sipped and nibbled because I’m not that keen on doing shots. Either way, It is seriously one of the best combinations I have ever tasted. It’s like boozy butterscotch. It’s more than the taste though. It’s a whole sensual experience.Bootleg Greg is serving some insanely and beautiful creative cocktails at the Illuminati Ball. With his permission, I’m posting some of his photos. Scroll down for the sautéed date recipe.
I’ve since taken these four ingredients with me to a terrifically fun party at a friend’s house. It was easy to whip this little treat up and fun to offer a bunch of tipsy friends, acquaintances and perfect strangers a hot date!
SAUTEED AND SALTED MEDJOOL DATES WITH A SHOT OF WHISKEY
- One pitted Medjool Date for each person
- Good extra virgin olive oil (I’m in love with California Olive Ranch)
- Maldone Salt
- A shot of Jameson Irish whisky for each person (A note for my family..yes you can use Bushmills. It’s just not that common where I live)
- Heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the dates on all sides. The goal is to get them warm and a little bit caramelized on the outside without burning them. It doesn’t take very long.
- Serve the warm dates sprinkled with Maldone salt along side a shot of Jameson. You can do it as a shot and chaser or nibble and sip. It’s good either way!
MORE DATES AND BOOZE…