Ina Garten's 3-Ingredient Party Appetizer Is "Fancy but Simple," According to Fans
From date nights to pandemic-safe al fresco affairs to holiday gatherings, Ina Garten knows how to entertain with ease. As we look ahead to another fall and winter full of football-watching parties, neighborhood fire pit nights, Thanksgiving feasts and more, she's back with even more inspiration via an episode of Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like a Pro all about "Make-Ahead Entertaining."
In addition to the Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Steamed Couscous entree and the Decadent (Gluten-Free) Chocolate Cake, Garten rounds out her go-to dinner party menu with a couple of versatile appetizer ideas that we plan to have on repeat all cold weather season.
To pair with her Dukes Cosmopolitan cocktail, which looks similar to a single-size version of her Internet-breaking supersized quarantini, Garten suggests a couple speedy homemade snacks. We especially have heart eyes for the 3-ingredient Warm Dates with Blue Cheese and Prosciutto after reading fan reviews like, "very easy and elegant" and "fast, easy and tasty! If you stick to the general traits of blue cheese and prosciutto there are endless combinations. Fancy but simple."
"When I have friends come for dinner, I always like to serve a little something with drinks," Garten says, as she slices a slit lengthwise across each date to remove the pit. "Not so much that they fill up on it, but a little something. Usually it's something that's store-bought, like cashews, or little cherry tomatoes in season."
Or she could take a cue from Julia Child and serve Goldfish crackers!
"Every once in a while, an hors d'oeuvre comes along that I think is really worth spending a little time making, and that's what I'm going to show you. I have two hors d'oeuvres that are both really easy and a little cheesy," Garten says, referring to the Mustard and Gruyere Batons she whipped up next as well as the star of the show, in our opinion, the Warm Dates with Blue Cheese and Prosciutto that are "so easy to make it's crazy," according to Garten.
After pitting each date and "butterflying" it to spread the date open while still leaving a portion intact, Garten adds about ¼ ounces of bleu d'auvergne cheese (buy it: $24 per pound at Murray's Cheese)—a kind of French blue cheese—into each butterflied date.
"You can also use Roquefort or any kind of blue cheese you like," Garten says...here at EatingWell, we're also big fans of Maytag (buy it: $59.99 for 15.5 ounces, Amazon), Point Reyes (buy it: $22.99 for 1 pound, Amazon) and English blue stilton (buy it: $29.99 for 7.5 ounces, Amazon).
Then take a piece of prosciutto that's as wide as each date, which is about half of a slice trimmed lengthwise, then wrap it around the cheese-stuffed date. Cut it off where the prosciutto pieces meet, then pop the dates on a sheet pan to bake at 400 degrees F for 8 minutes until the prosciutto begins to get golden and the cheese is slightly melty.
Garten says, "It's really fast!" And surprisingly easy, too. Get the recipe for Garten's party-starting Warm Dates with Blue Cheese and Prosciutto here. After trying the OG combo, we are excited to follow that fan's lead and switch things up with fresh figs, dried figs and grapes, and perhaps a schmear of blue cheese on a slice of pear or apple wrapped in prosciutto? The options are nearly endless—just like our desire to crash one of Garten's dinner parties one day!