It’s rare that I come across an appetizer that sincerely makes my tastebuds tingle. I’ve had knockout dishes, don’t get me wrong, but nothing that would merit a bitchin’ blog post. Until now, that is. Say hello – or rather skip the sweet talk – and go straight to the ultimate dessert: Bacon Bonbons.
One can argue that this dish is an appetizer but it clearly doubles as a dessert. It’s sweet, it’s salty, it sits in a bath of port glaze. Still confused? Don’t be, I’ll explain.
These “bonbons” hail from one of my favorite San Francisco restaurants, Gitane. Nestled in an alleyway close to Union Square, this eatery boasts some of the most amazing dishes I’ve had to date. The decor – downright vampy – creates the perfect ambiance for what’s about to happen to your mouth (not to mention, it’s a great date spot. Just saying).
Imagine this: Dried prunes, stuffed with goat cheese, wrapped in bacon, and smothered in a port glaze. You don’t have to be a bacon-lover to be salivating at this point! As someone who enjoys food, you can no doubt envision the smoky, salty bacon, sweet caramelized prunes and creamy goat cheese melting on your tongue as you chew, each bite more explosive than the next. What’s left is surely the sweet aftertaste of heaven.
If your heart is racing, then you have a vivid and spot on imagination.
My buddy, who I drag along to all my foodie adventures, was at a loss for words and simply reacted with a facial expression that exuded pleasant shock, ecstatic surprise, culinary euphoria…you get the point. I guarantee, you’ll react the same way. And if you can’t get to San Fran, one of the greatest food mecca’s of the world, I’ve tried to re-create the recipe for you to try at home.
Bacon-Wrapped Prunes stuffed w/Goat Cheese
12 large dried prunes
4 ounces goat cheese
1/4 cup cream
12 slices bacon
1 cup port wine
1/2 cup of veal demi-glace
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
Directions: Slice the prunes down the middle without cutting them in half. In a bowl, mix the cream with the goat cheese. With a pastry bag or small spoon, stuff the prunes with the goat cheese mixture. Next wrap each prune with some bacon. Set aside.
In a pan, boil the port and then reduce to medium heat. The port is at a good state when it’s reduced to half of it’s volume. Now it’s time to add demi-glace, a little cinnamon and star anise (sounds like mulled wine, huh?). Once everything’s in there, give it a stir and heat for about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat but keep warm.
Next, on a cookie sheet broil the bacon-wrapped prunes. They’re done when the bacon is crispy looking. Plate prunes and top with port sauce.
And there you have it. While the experience of having these for the first time cannot be replicated in your own kitchen, this easy recipe comes pretty darn close. If you’re in the SF area, take my always awesome advice and check out Gitane and get at least one order of the Bacon Bonbons. Then you can boast that you’ve actually had these famous little bundles of joy, and confirm that I am a foodie saint. A humble, foodie saint.
By: Angelique Picanco