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For someone who loves food, it might shock you that I am not a huge fan of appetizers – eating them or making them. For me, consuming too much before a meal satiates my hunger and I don’t have room for the main event. Because I don’t like to eat a lot of food before a meal, I don’t really enjoy making fussy, time consuming appetizers. That being said, when I have company and want to have a little something other than my standard hummus or candied nuts or cheese with seeded crackers, I throw together these apricot bites.
I first had these at my Israeli friend Dafna’s house many, many years ago. Dafna is one of the best cooks I know and I love to watch her in the kitchen, peering at her cookbooks (written in Hebrew, of course). She once served these delightful morsels prior to a Hanukah dinner and I went bonkers over the taste sensation: salty, sweet, minty…wow! They have been part of my repertoire ever since and I can make a batch in no time flat Since I still have fresh mint growing on my rooftop deck, and I keep feta or goat cheese as a staple in my kitchen, these are perfect for the time of year when everyone is “over” eating rich heavy foods.
Makes ~3 dozen
- Dried apricots halves (it takes 2 apricot halves per appetizer)
- ½ small clove of garlic
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup high quality feta cheese or soft goat cheese
- Fresh whole mint leaves
- Fancy dancy toothpicks
Roll apricot halves with a rolling pin so they are at least 1 inch in diameter. Arrange so the stickier inside of each half is facing up.
Mince the garlic and combine with the olive oil.
Place about ⅓ tsp of soft cheese in the center of the apricot half. Brush the other half with garlic infused olive oil. Top with the other apricot half, smooth side (less sticky side) up to make a sandwich.
You can make these up to 8 hours ahead of serving,
Up to an hour before serving, add the mint leaf to the top of the apricot and stab with a toothpick. Leave at room temperature so that the cheese melts in your mouth!