Whenever I go to a party I usually head directly to the meat and cheese platter formally known as the charcuterie tray . If like me, you had a problem with the pronunciation try this -shahr-koo-tuh-ree.
Maybe it’s my obsession with funky cheese and perfectly cured meats, or the fact that my mother made what my friends called ” gourmet sandwiches” for my school lunches that have me so infatuated with this simple appetizer, or HECK maybe it’s the fact that it’s so simple! Whatever the case may be I love good charcuterie! Plus saying it makes me feel a little fancy pantsy 😉
While simple to make there is a bit of a science that goes into creating this delicious hors d’oeuvre (or as I like to pronounce it whore de vours…yep not quite as fancy pantsy as I let on) and I want to show you the a simple way to create your own.
Choose your Cheese
While technically “charcuterie” specifically refers to the curing and salting of meats, you will find that most charcuterie trays incorporate cheese as well. I generally like to pick 3 types of varying flavor and textures so as to appeal to every palate. I tend to have a mild, sharp and a more pungent (also known as “funky”) flavor. Adding a tag to your cheese so that guests know which is which is also a nice touch. Here are a listing of each flavor as well as the most common cheeses that fit in that category.
Extra Aged Gouda
The selection of your meat should pair well with your cheese, again I like to choose 3 different types of meat and my personal faves range in flavor from mild to salty & peppery They are…
- Rosetta de Lyon
- Dry Salami
Bread & Crackers
While not a “must have” I think bread and crackers add color and are a nice addition in that they add texture and interest to your board. There is no “right” or “wrong” cracker to choose and really has more to do with preference. I prefer water crackers as they have a neutral flavor and appeal to more people than their flavored counterparts, a simple french baguette also works for this purpose. In the above picture I had to use what was on hand but I made it work by creating a focal point around the those crackers.
Whether an actual pickle or pickled veggies, pickles add both a great mix of flavor and a pretty array of color to your board. You need not go overboard though, a small pile on the edge of your tray works just fine. Just make sure you have bite sized portions so as to not overload guests. This is an appy and not a entrée by the way.
Pick a Pretty Board & Utensils
A simple white appetizer plate will do but I really enjoy using a cutting board as it makes for a more lovely display. It also gives you more room depending on the size you use. Make sure if you have blocks of cheese you have the proper knives to cut with. I recommend cutting a few slices for guests for presentation purposes as well.
Choose an “extra’ that guests may have never thought to pair with your selection of meats and cheeses. Add a couple of almonds, a dollop of honey and mustard, a few raisins and some olives. I for one never knew that these would pare well until I tried them all together and the result was truly divine! The extra’s not only add flavor but they are also a cool garnish!
So Weekender’s what are some of your favorite kinds of meats and cheeses? Have you ever tasted a charcuterie board that was to die for? What cheeses did they implement? I love hearing your experiences so talk to me in the comments below 🙂