Vivian Howard’s Party Magnet

¼ cup high-quality blue cheese (I like Maytag)
⅓ cup (5½ tablespoons) butter
¼ cup fresh goat cheese
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons cream cheese
¼ cup chopped dates
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions (both white and green parts work here)
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Salt-and-Butter-Roasted Pecans (recipe below), roughly chopped
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 cups pecan halves or pieces
2 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
For the cheese ball:
Take the blue cheese, butter, goat cheese, and cream cheese out of the refrigerator to soften 30 minutes before making your cheese-ball mixture.
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine all the ingredients except for the pecans and parsley. Paddle it up till homogenous. It will be loose and sticky and you’ll wonder how you’re ever going to form that mess into a ball. The answer is, you transfer the bowl to the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so. During that time the cheese mix will firm up enough for you to pat it into a sphere. Once it’s stiff enough to hold up, form the ball and roll that ball in the pecans, followed by parsley.
For the salt-and-butter-roasted pecans:Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Toss the pecans thoroughly with the melted butter and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and slide that sheet onto the middle rack of your oven. Roast the pecans for 11 minutes if using whole pecans and 10 minutes if you’re using pieces.

Bring the slightly darkened and toasty-smelling pecans out of the oven and hit them with the remaining salt. Let them cool 5 minutes before you eat them. These will keep for 7 days in an airtight container at room temperature.