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For more on how to master meal planning, check out A New Way to Dinner, a playbook for stressless weeknight dinners. Get your copy here.
Tomorrow night, we'd rather have a caramel-esque dried fruit kind of date than the flowers, let's-go-out-to-a-restaurant kind (and battle the holiday crowds) kind.
And, of all the dates in the world, we'd like Renee Erickson's Sautéed Dates covered in a smattering of flakey salt. Because they're just as good on their own as they are sandwiched in a grilled cheese—which means we can eat them for dinner all week long.
The first night, make a big batch of these dates (pit them, please!)—as many as you think you'll eat throughout the week. Eat them as an appetizer or side (maybe on a pool of yogurt, with bread?) alongside whatever else you're having for dinner, like roast chicken.
- sharp extra-virgin olive oil
- dates, unpitted (count on 4 to 5 per person as an appetizer)
- flaky sea salt
Then, try the following ideas for dinner the rest of the week.
Toast gone sweet and savory. Slice a thick piece of your favorite bread, toast it, smear with ricotta, and topped with chopped (or not) dates, toasted, chopped almonds, and a drizzle of olive oil and honey.
Grilled cheese, please! Add a scattering of chopped dates to labneh grilled cheese (or any favorite hot, cheesy sandwich).
- Put it in pasta. Cook some whole wheat tagliatelle. Toss in warmed, halved dates, chickpeas, some chopped parsley, a pinch or two of aleppo pepper flakes, and toasted pine nuts. If you have za'atar, use some of that, too. Dress with more olive oil and add a squeeze of lemon juice, if you think it needs some acid.
Slow it down. Braise cabbage. Stir in halved or sliced dates, chopped parsley, and crumbled ricotta salata. Top with more cheese. Serve with pan-fried sausages or roast chicken.
All the greenery. Add date chunks to a salad of arugula, roasted cubes of butternut square or sweet potato, pickled red onion, and any toasted, chopped nut of your choosing. Toss everything with Green Goddess dressing.
Time to salsa. Roast your favorite fish fillets. Top with a salsa of sorts made from chopped dates, parsley or cilantro, a splash of red wine vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
How would you use leftover dates? Tell us in the comments?