I’m trying to find a few good appetizers that I can use for the upcoming holidays. This recipe was in the same magazine that the Asparagus Fries with Smoked Paprika Aïoli were in; The Best of Fine Cooking’s Appetizers, Fall 2011. There’s lots of good stuff in this, so if you see it on the newsstands you might want to pick one up.
I feel the need to point out my fingernails in the close-up photos below. No, that is not dirt or chicken & goat poop under my nails. It is oil-based black ink. I’d been up past midnight the night before printing my linoleum print cards and just couldn’t get all of the ink off of my fingernails. I thought you’d want to know.
I thought these were yummy. They probably would have been even better with the pepper I was supposed to put on the bacon and forgot. I love salty and sweet, and with these you get not only salty and sweet from the bacon and apricot, but crunchy and chewy with the almond and cheese. You can’t get much better than that. Except maybe adding the pepper for some spice…
Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Apricots
Apricot sizes can vary; if yours are on the smaller side, just trim the cheese a bit and squish it in. Make sure they are whole and not halved. I used apricots from Turkey and Marcona almonds, which are a little softer than regular almonds. Any apricot and almond will do though.
- 24 dried apricots (about 7 oz.)
- 3 oz. plain Havarti, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch squares, 1/4 inch thick
- 24 almonds (about 1 oz.) 12 strips bacon (about 12 oz.), cut in half crosswise
- 24 toothpicks, soaked in water
- Freshly ground black pepper
Heat a gas grill to high or prepare a hot charcoal fire. I chose not to grill, but instead used a nonstick grill pan. I thought that worked just fine.
Pry open the apricots (if you look closely you’ll be able to find the slit where they removed the pit) and put a piece of cheese and an almond into each one.
Wrap a piece of bacon around each apricot, trimming as necessary so it overlaps by 1/2 inch, and secure it with a toothpick. Season the apricots all over with pepper. Somehow I missed that pepper step. They were still delicious without the pepper, but do try to remember it.
If using a grill, reduce the grill heat to medium (scatter the coals a bit or raise the grate if using charcoal). If using a grill pan, use medium-low heat. Use tongs to grill the apricots on all sides with the grill open, propping them between the bars to hold them up on the narrow sides. Move the apricots around often to avoid flare-ups. Cook until the bacon is crisp all over, about 6 minutes total.
Serve immediately and remind guests to remove the toothpicks.
make ahead tips: The apricots can be assembled up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated.