Let’s get straight to the point. You’re pressed for time, the party is a few hours away, and the only knowledge of charcuterie and cheese you have is that it tastes yum yum in your tum tum. Vivian and David (pronounced Da-VEED) from down the street brought their “A” game when they hosted and elevated the neighborhood gathering into an Iron Chef-esque culinary showdown. Now it's your turn, and you’ll go down swinging. Here’s a few easy steps to keep up with Jones’ on your charcuterie board.
1 ) How Much?
Think about the number of people you're serving. Two ounces of charcuterie and an ounce of cheese per person as an appetizer should be perfect.
2) Mix It Up!
A great charcuterie board is all about variety in flavors and textures. Bring in a meat from each of the following categories.
- Whole muscle cuts: meats like prosciutto, bresaola, coppa, and lonza, to name a few.
- Salami: they can be firm or tender, mild, spicy or very strong in flavor. Choose one that suits you and your audience.
- We call them "spreadable meats": this category consists of meats like patés, terrines, rillettes and 'nduja. Don't be shy to these lesser known varieties. They're packed with flavor and will certainly be a conversation piece.
Select 2-3 cheeses to pair with the charcuterie, mixing and matching from the following cheese categories; aged, firm, creamy, crumbly or blue. Make sure that there are both bold and mild flavors. Typically, blues, chevrés, sharp cheddars and aged soft ripened cheeses are strong in flavor. So, if one of these cheeses is gracing your board, add something milder like brie, gouda or a mild cheddar to balance it out.
Try something acidic like olives, pickles or mustard to balance the rich and robust flavors, and something sweet like jam or honey to warm up a salty creamy cheese like brie or camembert. Add crackers, crostini, or slice up a fresh baguette.
4) Slice It Up
A good rule of thumb: slice it cold, and serve at room temperature to bring out the flavor. Slice salami about the thickness of a quarter. Whole muscle cuts should be splayed out in loose folds for easy grabbing. Soft cheeses and spreadable meats can be left whole, while firm cheeses are typically pre-sliced or chunked. Firm rinded cheeses, like manchego, can be wedged to include the rind, while a firm, crumbly cheese, like aged cheddar, looks great in chunks. A variety of shapes and textures makes for a great appearance.
5) Plate It
Dust off your favorite board and festoon it with all the goodies. Either wood or stone, its all about presentation. Consider chilling your stone if you’re serving outside on a hot day.Try to cover the whole board, filling voids with nuts, olives, and dried fruit. Now get to it, it's almost party time. And next time, head to Getsharecuterie.com and save yourself the hassle. We’ll put together a curated assortment of artisan charcuterie and cheese to wow the crowd, all you have to do is plate it. Cheers!