You see charcuterie boards on so many restaurant menus nowadays, but did you know they are super simple to create at home? Charcuterie, (pronounced shahr-koo-tuh-ree) is how you prepare meats, as in curing and smoking them. A charcutier is the person who does the preparing.
Basically, a charcuterie board is a meat and cheese platter, with various nibbles and dips. The more colors and textures the better.
Begin with a beautiful platter. I received a wooden charcuterie board as a gift years ago, and it is still my favorite one to use. If you don’t have a wooden board, you can use any attractive platter.
Choose three or four different meats — salami, pepperoni, prosciutto and smoked ham work well. Use a variety of cheeses. I love Manchego, gruyere, sharp Cheddar, brie, and goat cheese, but pick your favorites.
For accompanying nibbles, choose olives (a variety is best), dried fruits, fresh berries, pickles (I love to use tiny cornichons), smoked nuts, a few jellies, cream cheese, mustards, grapes, cherry tomatoes, roasted red peppers, tapenade, assorted crackers, toasted baguette slices, and several types of dips and/or spreads.
Now it is time to get creative.
Arrange the platter by placing ingredients snugly. Roll up the prosciutto, fan out the salami — make sure you insert colorful items throughout the platter.
Something green, such as sprigs of rosemary, always complete the colorful scheme.
Charcuterie boards are perfect for entertaining, but are also a great “snack dinner” for a cozy night in front of a roaring fire with some Christmas music playing in the background.
Add a good bottle of wine, and that pretty much describes the perfect date night.
Here is one of my favorite spreads that would be perfect on a charcuterie board. Enjoy!
Pimento Cheese Spread
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
Pinch of cayenne
½ jalapeno, seeded and finely minced (optional)
Pinch of salt and pepper
Place all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until desired texture.
Forsyth County resident and author Adlen Robinson presents the best of her recipes each Friday for “In the Kitchen.” Please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.