Recommended Pairing: Cast Wines 2017 Watson Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel
APPLEWOOD SMOKED BACON + DATE JAM
10-12 slices thick-cut bacon
1 cup chopped shallot – onion works as well
1 large clove garlic, grated
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted dates
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 + 1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme + 3 thyme sprigs
pepper to taste
1. Slice bacon crosswise into 1/4″ lardon and cook over low heat in a large skillet. Cook until bacon is crisp and fat is rendered, 10-15 minutes. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of bacon fat. Add shallots and thyme sprigs. Cook over medium heat until shallots begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add dates and stir to incorporate with the shallots. Add garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Add vinegar and deglaze any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Let simmer about 1 minute. Add water, soy sauce and freshly ground pepper to taste. Let cook over medium-low heat until the liquid has mostly evaporated and the mixture begins to gently sizzle.
4. Remove from heat and stir in remaining chopped fresh thyme. Let mixture cool for 20 minutes. (If you plan to serve on homemade crostini, now is a good time to pop those baddies in the oven!)
5. Transfer mixture to food processor and process until it forms a nice, spreadable paste, about 20 pulses.
6. Let meld at least 2 hours, or overnight for optimum deliciousness.