Warm Dates with Olive Oil and Salt

November 09 2017

9 November 2017. You know when you find out about something brilliant and wonder why more people don’t know about it, and then you dig a little deeper and realize plenty of people do know but you didn’t? That’s how we feel about these dates. We saw them at a dinner party where they sat, humbly, on a plate. Before we tried them, we noticed that these dates had a sheen from sitting in a golden puddle of olive oil, and we could feel warmth radiating off of them. Leaning in, we saw tiny, crunchy crystals of salt nestled in the ripples and folds of their skin.

Dates are often humble; they’re not the superstar, they’re not an eye-catching hue, and they’re usually made to be the container for something bolder, like bacon. Sometimes they’re blended or baked into other dishes where their full-bodied sweetness bolsters the flavors of another ingredient. They fill these roles so well that it’s rare to see a date served on its own.

Medjool dates are already great candidates for eating. Their plump heaviness and soft texture make them easy to enjoy without adornment. But a gentle sauté with olive oil toasts their outsides and brings forth their earthy sweetness while encouraging the insides to soften towards melting. Savory olive oil and a dash of salt provide balance and that craveable quality.

We think these dates are perfect alone, but those aforementioned, in-the-know folks who have already been serving  these as appetizers recommend pouring the dates and oil onto pillowy bed of plain yogurt such that the dates, oil, and yogurt can be scooped up with baguette. We’re gonna call it a “both/and” situation.

Warm Dates with Olive Oil and Salt: Recipe by Renee Erickson via Food52


Medjool dates (enough for 1-2 dates per person if other apps are being served)

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt, flaky if possible


Heat 1/4 inch olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Fill the pan with dates and cook, turning them a few times, just until they've warmed through. (They burn easily, so keep an eye out.) Pour them onto a plate with the olive oil from the pan and sprinkle with flaky salt to taste.