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Dec 23, 2009 03:16 PM

Devils on horseback

I want to make these as a Christmas app. The recipe I have involves stuffing a pitted prune with a blanched almond (wrapped in an anchovy), then wrapping the prune in bacon and broiling until crispy.

Do you think I should par-cook the bacon a bit in the microwave first? I'd like it to be pretty crispy.

Also, I don't have any anchovies, and I'm a little iffy on the inclusion in this recipe. I do, however, have anchovy paste. Should I bother substituting, or just omit?

Thanks for letting me pick your brains at 1AM German time! :)

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  1. No you don't have to parcook the bacon, if you put in under the broiler, it will get pretty crispy. I would skip the anchovies if you only have paste. Or maybe just a little paste, for a touch of umami. I'm not a fan of hot anchovies anyway, except with pasta. Be sure to turn them and keep an eye on them.
    It's only after 7 pm here, but I'm barely awake.

    1. I've never used anchovies in my preparation and I also use Medjool dates, rather than prunes, stuffed with cheese (cream cheese, chevre, Stilton, etc...) and that almond. This shouldn't make too much of a difference re: the bacon, though...

      If you use bacon rather than prosciutto or another thinly sliced cured meat, use a lower oven temperature (i.e. 350 and turn the DOHs halfway through to let the bottoms brown). With prosciutto, I usually use a higher setting, around 400, and don't flip. Do keep a close eye on the DOHs to make sure they don't burn.

      Evidently Martha Stewart does hers with bacon at 400: . The cooking time looks a little long to me for 400, so do watch carefully...

      2 Replies
      1. re: cimui

        I prefer the dates to the prunes, too, with goat cheese. Almonds don't add much flavor to the whole thing and I haven't had it with anchovy --it's salty enough with the bacon. Either way, no need to precook the bacon.

        1. re: chowser

          I kind of like the crunch that slipping a nut into the middle adds. (Cashews, peanuts, walnuts and pecans are good additions, too, and maybe better bets so your guests don't think they're biting into a pit you forgot to remove.) Kind of not able to wrap my mind around the anchovy thing...

      2. I've found that anchovy paste, which I use a lot, particularly to make Caesar salad dressing, is far more intense than fillets themselves. I say don't substitute. The idea of the anchovy fillet inside of this appetizer is intriguing; I'm trying to wrap my head around the flavor combination of almond, anchovy, prune and bacon!

        If you're dedicated to crispy bacon, instead of broiling the appetizers, I say bake them in a 500 degree (fahrenheit) oven. The heat will get all around them so they finish even and probably quite crispy.

        3 Replies
        1. re: shaogo

          I'm with you: it's a weird combo. The recipe comes from a cookbook called "Greatest Ever Party Food"(Parragon Publishing).

          I like the quick, high heat idea. Can I bake them on a cookie sheet at 500F? The bacon is quite thin-sliced, but it's real bacon, not proscuitto.

          1. re: ChristinaMason

            You can't use a cookie sheet or the bacon grease will go all over the oven and start a fire -- unless you're talking about some sort of sheet pan with a raised edge to hold in the grease. I would use a wire rack so that the hors d'oeuvres don't get a chance to soak in the bacon fat. 500 -- preheated well -- will get the bacon going nice and toasty long before the anchovy inside gets heated up all too much.

            If you have no rack, I'd set them bacon-side down, not one of the outsides down. Be certain to have an open box of baking soda nearby the stove in the event of flare-ups of bacon fat while removing/replacing the cookie sheets in the oven.

            P.S., I'm loving the Medjool dates idea for this recipe. And I'll raise you a sun-dried tomato...

            1. re: shaogo

              It's a sheet with a small lip. I guess technically a jelly roll pan?

              I just made bacon yesterday morning in the oven; it was super-thin cut and very lean---crisped up quickly and no problems with pooled grease or fire.

        2. All the recipes I have for Devils involve stuffing with mango chutney, wrapping in streaky bacon and then putting them straight under the grill until the bacon's crispy.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Harters

            That sounds good. I have mango chutney, too. Maybe I'll give it a try.