In our May "A Delicious Literary Read" Book Club, this recipe was featured in Molly Wizenberg's memoir Delancey. We love it when a three ingredient recipe can taste so spectacular! These dates are a great back pocket trick to make because they are quick, elegant and endlessly adaptable. Serve as an appetizer with warm olive oil and a good amount of crunchy Maldon salt to offset the sweetness or as a delicious dessert after a meal. Try adding them to a salad involving with orange segments, pistachios, some good French cheese and soft buttery lettuce. For a final option, they are delicious at breakfast served in a puddle of cold, plain yogurt with more olive oil drizzled over top. Best to pit the dates first if you decide to serve them this way.
What follows is the basic method, not so much a recipe. Cook as many as you like.
- Place a heavy skillet over medium heat, and pour in enough olive oil to lightly film the bottom of the pan. When the oil is warm and runs loosely around the pan, add the dates, taking care not to crowd them.
- Cook turning the dates frequently so that they heat on all sides, until they feel hot (careful!) to the touch. They should cook fairly gently; if they’re taking on colour, reduce the heat or turn them more often. Because of their high sugar content, dates can scorch easily, so keep an eye on them. You’re just briefly warming and softening them, encouraging them to absorb richness and flavour from the olive oil.
- Transfer the hot dates to a serving dish and drizzle them with some olive oil from the skillet. Salt generously if you plan to serve them on their own, or only lightly if you’re serving them in a salad or with yogurt.