These appetizers blend together wonderful flavors that reflect the Roman world.
- 10 pieces of pancetta (or use bacon)
- 10 fresh figs
- 5 dates, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 cup Gorgonzola cheese
- 8 ounces Cream cheese
- oil for cookie sheet
- Cut pancetta into halves.
- Remove the stems of the figs and cut in the figs in half.
- Cream together the Gorgonzola and Cream cheeses.
- Spread each fig half with 1 Tbs of the cheese mixture.
- Top with a date half.
- Wrap the fig-date with a piece of pancetta and secure with a toothpick.
- Place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet.
- Broil the figs until the pancetta begins to crisp.
- Serve warm.
- 1 Tbs almonds, chopped
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp orange zest
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 8 large dates, pitted
- 6 ounces cream cheese
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 orange, sliced into 8 wedges
- Cream together the cream cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and brown sugar.
- Mix the orange zest and almonds into the cream cheese.
- Slit the dates, but be careful not to cut all the way through.
- Stuff the dates with the cream cheese mixture.
- Place under a broiler and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Allow to cool slightly.
Place the dates on a plate and decorate with the orange wedges.
Note: Dates have been considered a delicacy for both peasants and kings throughout history. The date was an essential food source for caravans, soldiers, and all travelers. It is an easy food to carry on long, hot journeys. It was cheaper and easier to prepare than wheat and more nutritious than barley. The sight of a date palm was cause for rejoicing on a long desert journey.