With the Super Bowl just around the corner, it’s time for a couple of appetizer recipes. If you work it right, appetizers can make the whole meal, because who wants to leave the TV long enough to sit down to a supper?
A couple years ago, CBS published the most common snacks Googled by state to discover America’s favorite game day treats. It showed, uniquely enough, that Mainers seemed to favor deviled eggs. (Maryland gets my prize for the least intuitive — that state looked for sweet potatoes?)
Deviled eggs beat out multilayer bean dip, pizza, Buffalo wings, the whole nine yards.
Then there’s bacon-wrapped and pecan-stuffed dates, a recipe sent to me a while back from former Islesboro school staff member Laurie Littlefield, who grew up in Maine. Laurie and her husband have been sticking to a Paleo-inspired diet for a few years, and Laurie loves dates because they are sweet without added sugar. She loves this appetizer recipe for heavy hors d’oeuvres and wrote, “These are delicious and we call them bacon candy!!!”
Now, it is true that eggs are costly right now, with avian flu having wiped out millions of chickens and other birds. On the other hand, since Super Bowl parties use so many avocados, they are often more affordable this time of year. Avocado deviled eggs get us the treat we want with the wholesomeness of both eggs and avocado. Why not?
Mash the egg yolks and avocado together with a bit of lime juice, garlic powder and finely chopped red onion. Give it a taste, then add salt and pepper, and if you want the mixture a bit creamier, add a tablespoon or so of mayonnaise. At this point you need to decide if you’d like some of the features of guacamole in your deviled eggs: a bit of jalapeno, cilantro or red pepper flakes either mixed into the avocado and yolk mixture or used as a garnish on top. It’s up to you.
One caution: avocado darkens after you mash it up, so plan on making this just a couple of hours before serving.
On the other hand, you can prep the bacon-wrapped dates early, even a day in advance, and bake them a half hour or so before they are needed. Buy pitted dates to save yourself the trouble of plucking out the pits. You can cut one slice of bacon into three or four sections to wrap around three or four dates. Laurie suggested securing the bacon with a toothpick, but I omitted that. Set them on a parchment paper lined baking pan or sheet, with the bacon ends down. The oven temperature recommendation was 375 degrees Fahrenheit but I jacked it up to 380 and shaved a few minutes off the baking time.
It would be nice if the Patriots were playing in Super Bowl 57 but since they aren’t, we can at least comfort ourselves with some pretty delicious grub.
Avocado Deviled Eggs
Yields a dozen deviled egg halves.
6 hard-boiled eggs
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoon red onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
Red pepper flakes or chili powder (optional
Peel the eggs and cut them in half, popping the yolks into a bowl. Set the whites aside.
To the yolks, add the avocado, lime juice, red onion and garlic. Mash together very well.
Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Add mayo if needed, and optional cilantro, pepper flakes or chili powder.
Bacon Wrapped, Pecan Stuffed Dates
4-inch strips of bacon
Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking pan with parchment paper.
Open each date and put a pecan half in the center and press to close.
Wrap the bacon around the date, securing with a toothpick. Lay the date on the baking pan.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes and serve warm from the oven.