Saturday, June 14, 2014

Sautéed Dates with Olive Oil & Sea Salt

When I grow up I want to write just like Molly Wizenberg.  I'm sure you know her blog Orangette.  And if you don't, please do yourself the biggest favour ever and head over there.  Now.  Her writing is honest, funny, so true to life and so goddamn good.  I was fortunate to have received a preview copy of her latest book Delancey way back before Christmas.  I saved it to savour for the flight to Phoenix.  I'm not good on planes.  I fidget and squirm, breathe deeply when there's turbulence, and grip on to the seat ahead of me when things get really dicey.  Seriously.  If you ever have the misfortune of sitting next to me, ask to move.  But with Delancey in my hands, I didn't even notice I was in a metal contraption millions of miles above the ground.  I was into it.  Molly's honest account of opening a pizza restaurant with her husband Brandon in Seattle is both charming and poignant. It's about finding your way as a couple and building the life you want to have together.  I think what I like best about the book is the vulnerability.  She doesn't gloss over the mucky bits, she lays them out flat for all to see.  It's a book about faith and love, perseverance and imperfection.  Oh, and food, too.  Each chapter concludes with a recipe; simple and straightforward.  What you would eat if you were building a restaurant and a life together simultaneously.  

I've been wanting to tell you about these dates for some time now.  Weeks in fact.  I first cooked them up on a cold May morning a when I spent a couple of days at the yurt.  That was a long time ago!  I was on a day-after-the-best-first-date high, I was in the woods and I was inspired.  Plus I think my hair looked really good that day.  Stars, sometimes they align. 

All you need to do is heat a small skillet with good olive oil.  Enough to coat the bottom of the pan should do it.  Let it shimmer and glisten.  Add enough fat, juicy Medjool dates, but not too many so you don't crowd the pan.  Turn them over in the oil now and again, being careful not to burn them.  You want an evenly coated, hot, soft date.  If they start to get too dark, turn the heat down, and move them around more.  When you feel like they are ready, remove them to a serving bowl and sprinkle them with a decent pinch of flaky salt like Maldon.  Eating them warm, as a simple appetizer, would be lovely.  Especially on a hot summer night.  On that chilly morning I let them cool down slightly then spooned them over a bowl of Greek yogurt.  The contrast of cold tang and sweet, warm caramelization was right up my alley.  I've also made this recipe here at home, letting the dates cool completely then pitting them and elevating a simple green salad into deliciousness.  I've also eaten them cold for breakfast, as is.  The exterior gets slightly crispy while the middle is still gooey.  Dates, olive oil and salt.  Who knew just the simplest of ingredients could be so delicious.  That Orangette.  She sure knows her stuff. 


  1. That sounds so dreamy! Can't wait to get my hands on that book! I loved her first one.

  2. Wow. Firstly, your post is hysterical. Secondly, I didn't know about this book, so thanks for that. And then there's this recipe... wow again. Of course, there's nothing wrong with dates just as is, but this is mind blowing. I'm going to have to try it!

  3. When I saw the title of this post I had to have a look-- dates with olive oil and sea salt sounds amazing! I cannot wait to try this.


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