As we move towards the holidays we break out quick recipes for entertaining. When we host a party we tend to serve a few quick snacks, usually a mix of hot of cold dishes. One of our favorites is just radishes, butter and salt, but this combination of sweet dates with crunchy celery and savory parmesan cheese is a new favorite. The dish combines many flavors and textures, is quick to make and easy to eat with a drink in your hand. A perfect cocktail party treat.
We are familiar with many parmesan-stuffed date recipes, but this recipe from Hugh Acheson is one of the first we know of that adds the crisp, vegetal crunch of celery and the bite of Italian parsley. Add some acidity from a quick vinaigrette and you have a very well-rounded bite. We added some of the tender celery leaves and a splash of sherry vinegar to fit our tastes, but whether you tune the recipe or stick with the original version, you get a very tasty dish.
Making these stuffed dates is as easy as it gets. Peel and chop some celery, and reserve some of the leaves, then chop some Italian parsley. Make a quick dressing with olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and salt. Add the celery and parsley and mix with the vinaigrette. Grate a few ounces of parmesan cheese and add it to the mixture. Then slit 6-8 Medjool dates lengthwise and carefully remove the pits and stuff with a tablespoon of the cheese and celery mixture.
And then you are pretty much ready to serve. Put the stuffed dates on a serving dish, maybe drizzle on some oil, vinegar,a pinch of salt and a few sprigs of parsley. The only question is how you present the dates. The dates are malleable and sticky, so you can stuff them and close them completely to hide the stuffing. Or you can leave the dates open to show off the goodies. We like to leave the dates open, but it is your call. Regardless of how they look, you will enjoy the depth of flavors and textures. And it’s good these are easy to make, your guests will probably ask you for another batch.
Medjool Dates Stuffed With Celery and Parmesan:
(Adapted from Hugh Acheson)
Notes Before You Start:
- Look for large, quality Medjool dates for this dish and use the best parmesan you can find.
What You Get: A perfect cocktail party snack.
What You Need: No special equipment required.
How Long? 5 minutes. Anytime dish. And this is worth making any time.
- 6 large (or 8 medium) Medjool Dates
- 1 stalk of celery, preferably with a few leaves still attached
- 2 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
- Pinch of salt
- 2 – 3 oz. grated parmesan cheese (the best you can get)
- Sherry and/or balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
- Peel the outer side of the celery and remove the strings. Chop the celery, on the diagonal, into pieces about 1/4 wide. Reserve a few of the celery leaves. Chop the parsley.
- Combine the celery, celery leaves and parsley with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the lemon juice and salt. Mix well and then fold in the grated parmesan cheese.
- Slit one side of each date lengthwise and then remove the pits. Stuff the dates with about a tablespoon of the celery and parmesan mixture. Squeeze the dates a little to secure the stuffing. Arrange the dates on a serving plate and drizzle with the remaining olive oil, a touch of balsamic and/or sherry vinegar, a sprinkle of salt and a few sprigs of parsley. Serve.
- A Winter Salad with Celery and Parmesan (emmycooks.com)
- Meal ideas (pixiwishesforeheadkisses.com)
- Parsley pesto (pineapplest.wordpress.com)
I love dates, but I never thought of ever pairing them with celery. Can you taste the celery amid all of those great flavors? I have some friends who don’t like celery, so would you recommend any other kind of neutral “vegetal crunch” as you call it?
Just pull the celery and keep the parsley. Small slivers of a crisp apple would also work…
love what you have done here — I want a platter of them, please!
Thanks…we finished a platter pretty fast…
These sound great!
Thanks- they are really tasty!
Stunning pictures! Thanks for sharing
Thanks for the visit!
Yum. I discovered bleu cheese stuffed-bacon wrapped dates last year. BRILLIANT. 🙂
Yup- dates with bacon are another great dish…the blue cheese is a nice addition…
These sound very interesting. I usually pair Medjool Dates with sweets rather than savories.
So do we, but dates do work with savory and umami-roch ingredients like bacon or cheese…worth a try…
This sounds so good! I think this is the first time I have ever urgently wanted a date. 🙂
Thanks! We enjoy dates (our kids will eat them) so we started to figure out extra things to do w/ them…
That looks sooOOOoooo Good, but what a fiddly job – I love dates …. love Parmesan, love celery – Love … and more love, but the dates is no go … *tears.
Hope you get to make and enjoy it! Good dish!
I love the sound of this, so easy and what a great flavor combination.
Thanks! It is a good flavor profile…
Reblogged this on Living Italiano and commented:
Thank you for these, they look delicious and very european 🙂
Thank you for these they look delicious and very european:)
Thanks! And thanks for the reblog!
That combination sounds so good can’t wait to try it!
Cool- hope you enjoy it!
It’s worth a try- particularly as an easy party dish…
Interesting combination, and great for a party as I think they can be made some hours in advance (unlike many other hors d’oeuvres that would become soggy). I’ve never heard of medjool dates though — are they really large? I’m having a hard time imagining stuffing the dates I’m familiar with with 1/4″ slices of celery!
Medjools are among the largest dates, they are 1-2 inches long and 3/4 to 1 inch wide. Plenty of room to stuff with cheese or celery..
I was at a specialty store today and noticed them for the first time. They were probably there all along, but dates are not something I often shop for. I’ll definitely make this for my next party!
I’ve made these for our party too and thought they were pretty good. I also made some with gorgonzola and mascarpone.
Glad to hear it. Gorgonzola and dates are always good!