Freeman’s Alley is the name of my favorite restaurant in New York. My friend New York Mike [Murciano] took me there for the first time and we were hooked. It sits at the dead end of an alley in the Lower East Side just off of the Bowery. The dark bar in the back is full of taxidermy birds, stiff cocktails and there is, of course, amazing food. Mike wanted to take me for a “quick appetizer” before a work dinner but we ended up staying until long after they closed drinking bourbon and ordering repeated rounds of something to eat called “Devils on Horseback.” Before we knew what happened we had been taken over. That night set off a week of ingesting nothing but alcohol, coffee, rock ‘n’ roll, karaoke and it was all done on no sleep. I think I’m still recovering from this today. And it happens every time we are there.
And now it’s the beginning of a new season. Cooler weather, better food, stiffer drinks and bigger smiles. Its Fall, my favorite time of year. For some reason Fall always makes me think of New York, and more specifically Freeman’s.
Below is a recipe for “Devils on Horseback.” It is the appetizer that we ate that night at Freeman’s – which turned out to be a classic that has been around since forever. Blue cheese stuffed bacon wrapped dates. They are sweet, salty, bite-size little perfects. Pair them with pretty much any kind of stiff drink and your night (or week) is going to be memorable (or not). —Adam Warren
Devils on Horseback
*Makes 24 bite-size pieces
-24 dried/pitted dates
-½ cup blue cheese
-12 slices of bacon – cut in half widthwise
- Take a small bit of blue cheese and stuff it in the dates where the seed indentation is. Make sure not to overdue it with the cheese as it will be messy and the flavor can be a bit overpowering.
- Wrap the stuffed date with a half piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick. You can soak your toothpicks in water for about 5-10mins if you are worried about them burning.
- Lay them out evenly on a baking sheet that has been lined with foil or cooking spray.
- You can either bake or broil these to cook them. If you are going to broil them, keep an eye on them and turn after about 5 minutes or until the bacon is crispy. If you are baking them, pre heat your oven to 375 degrees and bake for 20 minutes or until crispy, turning them over half way through. Ovens have a mind of their own so keep an eye not to burn them.
- Let cool on a paper towel for a few minutes, serve while still hot. With booze.
Like I mentioned before, this recipe has been around forever and there are a lot of different ways you can play it. You can use prunes instead of dates, stuff them with smoked almonds, marinate your dried fruit in port or brandy for some extra kick. Switch out the dried fruit for oysters and you have “Angels on Horseback.” Get creative, you can’t screw it up…
The last time I left Freeman’s I noticed that someone had spray painted “LOU REED!” on the side of the building — like they knew I was coming and expected Mike to be there with me. And that’s what its all about. I suggest you put on “Transformer” and get to making your first round of “Devils on Horseback” immediately. Don’t forget the bourbon on the rocks to go along with it.