Devils on Horseback. What a weird name for a food. Why not just call them “bacon wrapped dates?”
I was super curious as to where the name came from, so I turned to the always-trusted-must-be-true-cause-its-on-the-internet Wikipedia page to find out. Apparently, ‘Angels on Horseback’ is the name for a bacon wrapped oyster. I found a few different sources that said that Devils on Horseback are often times prunes or other dried fruit, are served hot, and can be stuffed with an almond. An almond is weird to me – I feel like that would provide an incredibly hard crunchy thing and just throw the texture off. Whenever I’ve had them in the past, they’ve been stuffed with cheese. Glorious, glorious cheese. “Cheeeese, Grommit!”
I digress. That was a Wallace and Grommit reference, for those of you who didn’t get it. Anyway, since it’s Whole30 time right now (and even if its not, you sometimes just don’t want to eat a bucket of cheese – oh wait, yes, you do…) I’ve gone ahead and made these cheese-free. Don’t get all disappointed yet, they’re still delicious!
Michelle Tam over at Nom Nom Paleo is like one of the OG paleo bloggers out there. She’s got this recipe in her cookbook for macadamia nut ricotta, and I was completely and totally skeptical – until I had it. The first time we tried it was in her eggplant stacks (and I’m not even really a huge eggplant fan) where you stack eggplant, tomato, this “cheese” and fresh basil and drizzle the whole thing with balsamic vinegar. Ermagawd. It was amazing.
So while working on these Super Bowl snacks for you, and trying to keep it easy, I tried to brainstorm things that were quick, required limited cooking, and weren’t going to leave you feeling like you were missing out on something. You’ll have to cook the bacon, obvi, but that’s pretty passive because you’re going to bake it in the oven. Other than that, the most time consuming thing is actually wrapping the dates and stabbing them through with a toothpick to pin down the bacon. About halfway through, I got sick of it, and figured if I were sick of it, you probably would be too. Time for a new plan.
My next go at it involved chopping some of the bacon up into crumbles, then sprinkling that on top of the filling to make it stick. I thought they looked pretty cute, then I stepped back and realized they looked like little miniature loaded baked potatoes, plus the bacon didn’t stick very well. Not the look I was going for!
Option three was by far my favorite. I took the chopped up bacon, mixed it up into the “ricotta,” and stuffed it into the date. Boom. No wrapping, no stabbing, no trying to make bacon balance on top and not fall off. I took a few pictures of all three varieties next to each other so you can see what they look like and decide for yourself how you want to serve them, but if you’re going for simplicity, number three is where it’s at. If you’re taking them to a party or a friend’s house, the wrapped ones make a much prettier presentation, though. Want to make them extra delicious? Drizzle with some balsamic vinegar. Want to make them extra extra delicious? Reduce the balsamic vinegar in a pot on the stove while you’re stuffing the dates and the bacon is cooking. If you’re not sure how to do that, you can find it in this post!
OMG PS – Why is it already after 11pm and I’m just getting this posted? Wednesday fail. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. And with these sweet and spicy sticky wings coming tomorrow, how could it not be? Stay tuned!
Preheat the oven to 400 °.
Lay the strips of bacon out on a baking sheet and place in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. You want it cooked through, but not crispy, otherwise you won't be able to wrap with it!
While the bacon is cooking, combine the macadamia nuts, lemon juice, water, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and run until the texture resembles ricotta cheese. (You may have to scrape down the sides of the bowl a time or two.)
Split each date open lengthwise, then stuff with the macadamia nut mixture.
When the bacon is finished, allow to cool slightly, then wrap each date with a piece of bacon and hold in place with a toothpick.
Alternate endings: crumble the bacon and top each date with it, or crumble the bacon and stir it into the nut mixture before stuffing.
Bonus: drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
Double bonus: Reduce the balsamic before drizzling.