Prosciutto Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Goat Cheese

parma date tastefood

Are you having a last minute holiday panic attack? You have the turkey brined, the potatoes smashed, the cranberries sauced, and 4 sorts of vegetables cleaned. But…what if you don’t have enough? (Of course you do). If you are like me, the  last hours of party prep often include last minute additions to the menu – just in case someone, heaven forbid, should waddle, I mean walk, away from the table still hungry.

Such was the inspiration for these stuffed dates. I added them to my holiday menu in a sudden moment of panic (maybe 3 appetizers were not enough!) I had all the ingredients on hand: goat cheese for the cheeseboard, dates to accompany the cheese, rosemary in the garden, and Proscitto, a permanent staple in my refrigerator. Prosciutto is easy to store and ready to pull out for charcuterie boards, draping over pizza, and layering into salads. I love it as is or baked in the oven where it crisps, waiting to be snapped into shards and sprinkled over pasta, soups and salads. For these appetizers, the prosciutto wrapped up the dates, sealing in the filling and creating tidy flavor-packed nuggets – sweet, salty and creamy at once. They were easily assembled one day in advance, simply needing a quick bake to crisp the ham and amplify its saltiness, providing a perfect foil to the sugary dates and mild goat cheese.

Parma Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Goat Cheese

Makes 12 to 16, depending on the size of the dates

5 ounces mild soft goat cheese
1 teaspoon finely minced rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 to 16 medjool dates
8 slices Parma ham, halved lengthwise

Preheat oven to 375°F (190C). Combine the goat cheese, rosemary, orange zest, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Mix with a fork to soften and combine.
Make a small incision in the dates lengthwise and remove the pits. Using a teaspoon or your fingers, fill the cavities of the dates with the goat cheese. Wrap each date with a strip of Parma ham. Place seam-side down on a baking sheet. Bake until the ham is slightly golden, about 15 minutes, turning once. Transfer to a serving plate and cool slightly. Garnish with rosemary sprigs. Serve warm.

Smoked Ham with Pomegranate Molasses, Black Pepper and Mustard Glaze


If you are looking for a twist on the traditional Easter ham, look no further. This ham is smoked and coated with a Pomegranate Molasses, Black Peppercorn and Mustard Glaze. Unlike the super-sweet glazes frequently used for baked hams, the pomegranate molasses adds a distinct sweet-tart flavor to the glaze without overpowering the meat. Pomegranate Molasses is a thick syrup made from reduced pomegranate juice.  A key ingredient found in Middle Eastern cuisine, its flavor is a unique contrast between sweet and sour, which makes it a great addition to marinades, dressings and glazes. In this recipe, the deep red color of the molasses imparts a rich mahogany hue to the crust of the meat, while it’s sweet and sour flavor coaxes out the smokiness of the ham.  Dijon mustard lends extra sharpness and depth to the flavors while freshly ground black peppercorns give a nice kick.

Smoked Ham with Pomegranate Molasses, Black Peppercorn and Mustard Glaze

This recipe may be doubled. Serve the meat with Dijon mustard, cornichons and extra glaze as condiments for a nice rustic presentation. Pomegranate molasses can be found in Middle Eastern shops or the international specialty aisles in your supermarket. Serves 6.

1/2 bone-in smoked ham, 5-6 lbs.
3/4 cups pomegranate molasses
1/4 cup Dijon mustard, plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons whiskey
1 tablespoon ground whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Let the ham come to room temperature 1 hour before cooking. Preheat oven to 325 F.

Make the glaze: Combine pomegranate molasses, 1/4 cup mustard, whiskey, pepper, allspice and salt in a bowl and mix to blend well.

Prepare ham: Place ham, fat side up, in a foil lined roasting pan. Score fat in a cross-hatch pattern at 1-2″ intervals without incising the meat.
Generously baste the ham with the glaze. Bake in oven, basting occasionally, until internal temperature of the ham is 120 F. (about 10 minutes per pound.) The ham should be deep golden brown and crusty at this time. If not, increase heat to 450 F. and continue to bake for a few minutes, while keeping an eye on the ham so it doesn’t burn. Remove from oven and transfer to cutting board. Let rest 20 minutes before carving. To serve, transfer remaining basting sauce to a small saucepan and simmer briefly, brushing down the sides, to heat through and burn off alcohol.Slice ham and serve with Dijon mustard, cornichons and basting sauce as condiments on the side.