Date-Almond Spread

1/2 cup raw almonds, toasted
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
8 ounces pitted dates, chopped
1/2 cup port
1/4 cup water
1 (2-inch) strip orange zest
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Put toasted almonds in work bowl of food processor. Pulse until nuts are finely ground.

In small heavy saucepan, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add shallot and garlic. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes or until tender. Add ginger, dates, port and zest; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until port is a syrupy consistency and dates are softened, stirring occasionally. Add water as it cooks. Remove and discard zest. Let mixture cool slightly, then transfer to food processor containing ground almonds; process all together until smooth. Transfer to small bowl. Stir in vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let cool. (Make ahead: Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days.)


- Recipe courtesy of Sue Doeden