Ready to go beyond the classic cheese plate at you next party? Maybe this New Year’s Eve is the time to step things up a bit with a fabulous and stunning charcuterie board! What’s a charcuterie board you ask? A charcuterie board is the cured meat version of the cheese plate and I believe every party should have one! Seriously, it’s hands-down the easiest and most impressive appetizer for any get-together or cocktail party. It also can be an easy and simple light dinner when no one wants to cook to which I’m guilty of especially on weekends.
All there is to an EPIC charcuterie board is a variety of cured meats, something pickled, maybe a little pate, and a few dabs of bold flavors. The best part is that most, if not all, of these items can be bought at your local grocery store — although paté and more of the less common meats can be found at specialty markets such as Whole Foods, Central Market, or local cheese shops. Just ask your deli department to slice your favorite meats for you and all the work is done.
5 Tips For A Fabulous Charcuterie Board
1. USE A VARIETY OF CURED MEATS AND SALAMI, 3 or more selections. I like to keep the cured meats sliced very thin and the sausages and salami either sliced thin or cubed. Your deli department can slice and cube it all for you. Figure on serving 3 slices of each variety for each person.
- CURED MEATS – Try Coppa (cured pork shoulder), Jamon Serrano (Spanish ham), Prosciutto (Italian ham), Mocetta (cured beef tenderloin)
- CURED SAUSAGES/SALAMI – try Spanish Dry Chorizo, Finochietta, Rosetta de Lyon, Casalingo, Felino
2. PATÉ – A paté is a mixture of cooked ground meat with additions like vegetables, truffles, and nuts, minced into a creamy spreadable paste. It’s fabulous and I urge you to try it if you haven’t before. It’s not a must-have on a board but it brings a different flavor and texture. The great thing about patés are that they can be purchased by the slice, making it extremely affordable. Spread on water crackers or sliced bread. Like I said earlier, you can find patés at specialty stores in the cheese or deli department. Figure on one 3/4″ to 1″ slice a board.
3. SOMETHING PICKLED – Pickled vegetables are a fantastic pairing with meats and a must on a board. Have at least one selection. Try gherkins (tiny pickles), pickled red onions, pickled okra, olives, or pickled mushrooms.
4. SPREADS – Sweet and savory spreads pair great on a cracker with a slice of cured meat or sausage. Try Apricot or cherry preserves for sweet and brown mustard, maple mustard seed, or stone ground mustard for the savory. Serve by the spoonful on the board with a small spoon or knife available for serving. I like to have one selection of both sweet and savory.
5. BREAD and CRACKERS – A selection of crackers and bread such as a sliced baguette or croissants are a welcome sight to any board.
HOW TO SERVE: Serve everything already sliced on one board. If you don’t have room for the bread and crackers, serve on the side.
BEER AND WINE PAIRINGS: Almost everything pairs with cured meats — that’s the great thing about serving a charcuterie board. Try:
- White wines: Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Prosecco or Champagne
- Red wines: Cotes-du-Rhone, Barbera, Beaujolais
- Beer: Saison, Farmhouse, Pale Ale, Czech or Bohemian Pilsner, Vienna Lager
Most importantly, keep it to your liking and don’t stress. Be as adventurous or as tame as you like. Like I said, let the deli do all the work for you and in a snap you’ve got an amazing appetizer perfect for any party! Cheers friends!