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Black-Sugar-Glazed Medjool Dates With Pecorino and Walnuts

February 11, 2010     Views 2,387     Grabbed 2     Grab    

Black-Sugar-Glazed Medjool Dates With Pecorino and Walnuts

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2 tablespoons black sugar (dark muscovado)
1 teaspoon molasses
1/4 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon fennel seed, toasted until fragrant and lightly crushed Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

For the dates:
6 medjool dates, cut lengthwise in half and pitted
4 ounces aged pecorino, shaved with a vegetable peeler
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
Walnut oil, for sprinkling
Lightly cracked black pepper.

1. Arrange an oven rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. To prepare the glaze, combine 3 tablespoons water, the sugar, molasses, cocoa, fennel seed, two to three grinds of pepper and salt in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the vinegar and simmer until just thickened, about 5 minutes. Reserve until ready to use, or refrigerate for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

2. Place the date halves, cut side up, on a small baking sheet or casserole dish. Lay 6 slices of pecorino on top of each. Sprinkle the walnuts, a few drops of walnut oil and a few cracks of pepper over each date. Bake until the cheese has just started to melt, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer the dates to a serving platter. Drizzle with the black-sugar glaze and serve immediately. Makes 12 date halves.

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