Bruschetta with Pickled Dates
- 1 cup minced dates
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups champagne vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
- 4¾ inch thick slices of ciabatta or rustic sourdough
- 2 fresh whole garlic cloves
- 1 wheel of Cowgirl Creamery “Mt. Tam” cheese
Pickled Dates: Mince the dates, put into a small bowl and set aside. Mix sugar and vinegar in a small sauce pot, place over high heat, add the fennel seeds and turn heat down to medium. Let seeds steep in syrup for about 5 minutes (or to taste). Pour syrup through a strainer over the dates and discard the fennel seeds, let dates cool in the syrup and, when cool, strain out the syrup and place in the pot on the stove again over medium-high heat; reduce syrup until it starts to thicken and turn golden brown. Remove the pot from the flame and place immediately in a bowl of ice water to stop the syrup from caramelizing.
Finish: Place thick slices of cheese on bread (rubbed with olive oil and toasted on a grill or in the oven until brown, finished with a garlic rub on both sides) and pop back in oven to slightly warm cheese. Top each piece with a little spoonful of the pickled dates and a drizzle of the syrup.