Deep-Fried Dates Stuffed with Chorizo
Serves 4 as an appetizer
1 10 to 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers packed in water (I like Divina brand), drained
¼ to ½ teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Puree the red peppers with ¼ teaspoon of the paprika and a tablespoon or two of olive oil until the sauce is a nice dipping consistency. Put the sauce in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it up. Taste for seasoning, and add salt, pepper, and more paprika if you’d like.
12 large Medjool dates, pitted
4 to 6 ounces Spanish chorizo (fully cooked), casing removed
If the dates don’t already have one cut the long way to remove the pit, go ahead and slice them that way. Cut the chorizo into very small pieces, and saute them in a small skillet to render some of the fat. Pack each date with as much of the chorizo as you can. Press each stuffed date together to get the chorizo pieces well embedded and nice and sticky. Set them aside and prepare the batter
Oil: I use regular vegetable oil for frying. Heat at least 2 inches of oil to 375 degrees F in a large deep pot or deep fryer.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup ice-cold water
1 large egg, cold from the fridge, lightly beaten in a small bowl
3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs, preferably Panko (they give a nicer crunch)
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour and ice water with the fork – just enough to have a not very smooth mixture with some lumps. Add the beaten egg and the bread crumbs and mix again. The lumps should just about disappear.
Add six of the dates the batter, stir them once to coat, then lift them out one at a time with the fork, letting the excess batter drip back into the bowl. Fry for a couple of minutes until brown all over, then set on paper towels to drain while you make the remaining six dates. You may need to make another batch of batter if you used a lot on the first six. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the dipping sauce (reheated in the microwave if needed).