You have worked hard all week, attempted to make some semblance of a difference in your small part of the world. You finished your final exam for the fall quarter of grad school and finally have a few hours after work to focus on something, anything you want. Good friends and good food sound like the perfect Friday night fix. Your friends will arrive at 7 pm. You just walked in the door. It is 5:30 pm. What to make? As a group, you have decided on appetizers instead of a meal. You make the good ones, the “I love my friends but don’t have the time I used to” kind. No nuts, as your best friend has a bad nut allergy. No cinnamon either. That makes the same person’s tongue go numb. Easy enough.
On the menu:
- Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts
- Coconut Shrimp
- Goat Cheese, Mango Ginger Chutney and Pistachio Bites (hold the pistachios)
- Sushi Platter
- House Made Wine
- Oktoberfest Beer
The bacon-wrapped water chestnuts below have been making an appearance at just about every family gathering or appetizer party I have been a part of for as long as I can remember. They are a perennial favorite, and, in my humble opinion, better than bacon-wrapped dates. People seem to always ‘sneak’ one or two until the whole platter just disappears.
Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts
1 pkg. bacon
1 can whole water chestnuts
4 T. soy sauce, low sodium
2 T. light brown sugar
3-4″ skewers or toothpicks
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place oven rack in top third of oven.
Soak toothpicks/skewers in water 30 minutes prior to skewering, if possible.
Line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil. Spray with cooking spray.*
Cut strips of bacon in half width-wise. This is really easy with a good kitchen shears.
Place one bacon half on cutting board. Place water chestnut in the middle. Wrap ends of bacon around water chestnut. Skewer with a toothpick. Dip in soy sauce. Place on prepared pan. Repeat. As you near the end, you may have too much of either the bacon or water chestnuts. Adjust accordingly by cutting water chestnuts in half or by cutting some of bacon into smaller pieces. Once all bacon and water chestnuts are skewered, sprinkle with brown sugar.
Bake 15 minutes. Check on them. Bake another 5-8 minutes, until starting to crisp but not burn.
Place on paper towels on a platter. Serve immediately.
Make-Ahead Recipe Note: You can skewer the water chestnuts, dip them in soy sauce, cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours prior to baking. Just sprinkle with brown sugar before putting them in the oven.
*Place a cooling rack on the pan (if you have one) to allow the bacon grease to fall through the little grates. I have made these both with and without the rack on the pan. Both ways are fine.