Happy October, Wonderlanders! Our new book of the month, in honor of Halloween, is The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux! I remember reading it in college and loving all the drama, intrigue, and interesting themes. Plus, the spooky nature of the Phantom makes this book a perfect choice for October.
One of my favorite themes in the book (and maybe the most common) is the concept of angels and demons. I’ve always thought of the Phantom and Raoul’s battle for Christine as symbolic of the battle between Heaven and Hell over the human soul. I’m not sure if this is the intended interpretation or not, but either way I wanted to include an homage to this theme in my menu. Which brings me to Devils on Horseback!
I heard the recipe name tossed around several years ago and looked it up out of curiosity. As it turns out, Devils on Horseback is a fancy name for a dish many of us know and love: BACON. WRAPPED. DATES.
* resists the urge to squeal *
I’m not exaggerating when I say I’m CRAZY about bacon wrapped dates The Mister and I once spent a whole party hanging out by the oven as we waited for tray after tray of bacon wrapped dates to come out, snagging as many as we could before the hostess (my sister) took them away to serve to other, less obsessed guests. So when I saw that I had an opportunity to make them for this menu, I was like UM YES THIS IS HAPPENING.
I asked my sister for the recipe she uses, which turned out to be super easy: wrap dates and bake. But then I kinda accidentally wound up making my own version. First, my grocery store was out of pitted dates, so I had to buy the ones with the pit still inside, which are bigger than the pitted variety, even after you take the pit out (don’t ask me why). So when I wrapped them, they were good, but the bacon/date ratio wasn’t quite right to me. Then I was like, “Hey, there’s no rule that says you can’t use TWO pieces of bacon, right?”
So I double-wrapped my jumbo dates, added 10-15 minutes to the cook time, and voilà! Datey, bacony goodness. I’m pretty sure you could lure the Phantom himself out of his shadowy life beneath the opera house with just a plate of these beauties.
Just make sure you save some for yourself before he eats them all. 😉
Devils on Horseback: An AWR Original Recipe
“I knew my Erik too well to feel at all comfortable jumping into his house. I knew what he had made of a certain palace at Mazenderan. From being the most honest building conceivable, he soon turned it into a house of the very devil, where you could not utter a word but it was overheard or repeated by an echo. With his trap-doors the monster was responsible for endless tragedies of all kinds”.
- 12 strips of bacon (regular, not thick-cut)
- 1 12-oz package of whole Medjool dates with pits (approximately 18 dates)
…And that’s seriously it. You can secure them with toothpicks if you want, but they don’t really need. Maybe use toothpicks if you’re planning to transfer them to different plates multiple times (be sure to soak the toothpicks in water before using so they don’t burn in the oven).
Makes approximately 18 bacon wrapped dates
- Preheat oven 350°. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and set aside. Cut a slit down the side of each date and ease out the pit with the end of your knife (don’t worry about ruining the date; this isn’t a delicate procedure).
- Slice your bacon into thirds. Wrap one piece around each date with the seam on top. Wrap another piece over the top of each date, with the seam on the bottom.
- Place your bacon wrapped dates in rows on the baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the bacon is crisp. Allow to rest on top of the stove for 10 minutes.
- Serve warm to the mysterious inhabitant of the catacombs under the Paris Opera House!
Need more bacon? Of course you do. 😉