There are certain foods that I think I should like, but don’t quite—like oysters. I keep trying them in hopes of developing an affinity for them yet at this point, I’m starting to wonder if that day will ever arrive. My story about dates has a happier ending. My dad has always loved any kind of dried fruit and would consistently receive those cellophane-covered dried fruit platters for Christmas. The sticky, overly sweet morsels held absolutely no appeal for me. Over the years, I haven’t even tried to like them. Then my sister Diane and her husband took a trip to Scotland and brought back a recipe for the most delicious (date-filled) Sticky Toffee Pudding ever and I could concede that this little fruit was very yummy blended in with other ingredients. My interest was piqued. When I saw a recipe for sautéed dates with sea salt and lime zest, I couldn’t resist, and good thing I didn’t! I’ve been making this ever- so- simple appetizer since then, especially in the summer because it seems to fit. The moral of this story is: even if you “think” you don’t like dates, give this a try—you’ll be surprised.
Dates with Sea Salt and Lime Zest
30 small pitted dates (available in the “bulk” department)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ – ¾ teaspoon coarse sea salt
2 teaspoons grated lime zest*
Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add dates. Sauté until dates are softened and just starting to brown. Remove dates to serving platter and sprinkle with sea salt and lime zest. Serve 6 as appetizer
* I use a microplane