Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fresh Dates - Like On The Stem -- At Nazar

Fresh dates at Nazar Market
Grab for the season by trying fresh dates on Nazar Market in Columbia.

Fresh dates like dates just harvested and sold still on the stem.  They're firm and golden, nothing like the soft brown dates that I normally buy.  But they're ripe, and you eat the skin and all.

It's a fresh flavor, the full flavor of the date but less sugary.  The skin reminds me of an Asian pear.  You crunch through flesh like an apple -- slightly astringent at the skin, but then the flavor that is surprisingly rich with honey.

Based on exhaustive minutes of on-line research, these appear to be Mariani dates picked at the "khalal" stage.  The LA Times describes them as the "flavor of coconut, sugarcane and cinnamon."  I wish that I has thought of that because it's a nice description, much better than "full flavor of the date."

Nazar is a market with a halal butcher in the shops at Snowden River Parkway and Oakland Park Boulevard.  You enter from Oakland Park, and Nazar faces across the parking lot at Bon Fresco Sandwich Bakery.  Nazar sells lots of Turkish goods -- including candies, juices, sodas, grains, spices and the perfect ground lamb.  Ground lamb was one of the stars of 2010's Grilling Week.

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