We modeled these hors d'oeuvres on the little bombs of flavor that Suzanne Goin invented for her Los Angeles restaurant A.O.C. Each bite delivers a huge range of tastes — sweet, salty, and smoky — all at the same time. They're easy to make and completely irresistible; I can't think of a more appealing tidbit to nibble on.
- 18 (1- by 1/4-inch) sticks Parmigiano-Reggiano (from a 1/2-lb piece)
- 18 pitted dates (preferably Medjool)
- 6 bacon slices, cut crosswise into thirds Special equipment: 18 wooden picks
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.
Stuff 1 piece of cheese into each date, then wrap 1 piece of bacon around each date, securing it with a pick. Arrange dates 1 inch apart in a shallow baking pan.
Bake 5 minutes, then turn dates over with tongs and bake until bacon is crisp, 5 to 6 minutes more. Drain on a paper bag or parchment. Serve immediately.
Dates can be stuffed and wrapped in bacon 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before baking.