Eggplant Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese

I was having a dinner party the other night.  A number of vegetarians were invited, and so I needed to get a little more creative than usual. IMG_6172   My roommate often makes Bacon wrapped stuffed dates as an appetizer at many of the events we host together, but for obvious reasons, bacon was not on the menu that night.  I thought about eggplant rollatini, but I didn’t have the ingredients on hand. It was time to get a little creative.  I decided to wrap dates stuffed with goat cheese in eggplant, a rather risky move mixing savory and sweet.  This risk payed off, delivering simple, easy, and delicious vegetarian hors d’oeuvres. Here’s how you can make these vegetarian appetizers. Ingredients

  • Plain goat cheese (1 package or 1/4 cup)
  • 2 cups dates (or however many you choose to serve)
  • 1 large Italian eggplant
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Begin by slicing eggplant into very thin slices with a mandoline. If you don’t have a mandoline, this can be done carefully with a knife or peeler. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and prepare your dates.

Now prepare your dates. Remove pits by slicing horizontally and picking out pit. Fill hole with about a spoon full of goat cheese. Coat a large cast iron skillet with a thin layer of olive oil.

Over medium heat, cook your eggplant slices flipping periodically, so as not to burn. Once eggplant is no longer white, but slightly translucent, remove eggplant from heat.

Wrap dates in eggplant and stack on a baking sheet or glass pan. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes or until your eggplant is cooked completely and no longer bitter. Baking time will depend on how thin eggplant is sliced.

You can serve plain or with a drizzle of honey. I prefer mine plain, as the dates add a sweet kick.

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