You will notice a trend on menus these days and it’s called Charcuterie. Charcuterie is especially popular in farm to table restaurants where traditional foods are served. So, that begs the question: What the Heck is Charcuterie? And Why You Need it at Your Next Party!
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Let’s Talk Charcuterie!
Charcuterie is the culinary art of preparing meat products such as bacon, salami, ham, sausage, terrines, galantines, ballotines, pâtés, and confit. Someone that prepares charcuterie is called a Charcutier. So why is charcuterie suddenly all the rage?
Well as the Saying Goes “Everything Old is New Again”.
Like many traditional foods that are making a comeback, charcuterie is a culinary art developed from necessity; it is the way meats were preserved long before the days of refrigeration. And just like pickles, fermented vegetables, home drafted beer, broth and kombucha, charcuterie has been revived and brought front and center by the traditional food movement. And in my humble opinion front and center is exactly where it deserves to be.
What To Expect When You Order Charcuterie at a Restaurant:
Generally when served in a restaurant charcuterie is presented as an appetizer on a board alongside artisan cheese and nuts.
How To Make It Your Own For A Party:
The fabulous thing about serving charcuterie at your own party is that there are no rules! You can keep it as simple as you like (just the cured meats maybe?) or dress it up with fresh or dried fruits, a variety of artisan breads and crackers, olives, spreads like honey, preserves or jams! You can also keep it budget friendly by setting out a small plate or go all out with a huge platter!
Charcuterie is Perfect for The Holidays:
Putting together a charcuterie board is a snap which is why it is perfect for holiday parties. Just visit the specialty department in your grocery store and pick and choose what looks amazing and then set it on a board! Honestly when something is this easy and delicious why would you make anything else? That said, if you aren’t sure you can arrange a platter as esthetically pleasing as mine I have some tips for you! Click—> How To Make a Holiday Charcuterie Platter!
Make it A Meal!
Charcuterie doesn’t have to be relegated to the appetizer category. Every time I order charcuterie at a restaurant I would say to my husband “If this just came with a salad it would be the perfect easy meal. So voila! I came up with my own Salad and Charcuterie Board (<— click!) for an easy, delicious, filling meal when I don’t want to cook!
The Recipe and Serving Suggestions:
What you will need: not much! A serving board (I love this farmhouse style board or this round board and these pretty cheese knives! I use a grill pan to grill the baguette and love Marcona almonds, and use Adriatic fig spread on the goat cheese! It’s amazing!
Putting together a charcuterie board is a snap which is why it is perfect for holiday parties. Just visit the specialty department in your grocery store and pick and choose what looks amazing and then set it on a board! This isn't exactly a recipe, but more a guide and list of ideas that might inspire you. Remember, you can't go wrong.
- prosciutto, salami, pepperoni, ham, sausage, terrines, galantines, ballotines, pâtés etc...
- The cheese is my favorite part! I LOVE aged hard cheeses like gouda, cheddar and Manchego, but I also love soft cheeses like chevre and brie. The beauty of the board is you can mix it up to fit everyone's taste! And if you're unsure, ask the people behind the cheese counter at your local store!
- Add dried mango, apricots or dates to your platter as well as fresh fruits like grapes, sliced apples, pears, berries or melon. For the holidays: pomegranate seeds, fresh figs and persimmons add a festive touch! Of course all sliced veggies are welcome aboard and adding an assortment flavorful olives and pickles brings a nice salty element to the board.
- If you watch the carbs, you can skip these entirely and still have a fabulous board. But if you choose to include them, go for artisan breads and gourmet crackers with different shapes, textures and flavors to keep things interesting! I love Leslie Stow Crackers...and she makes some gluten free! Of course a toasted baguette is always a winner but bread sticks work too.
- Set honey or honeycomb right on the platter or place in a small dish. Dab a generous amount of Adriatic fig or other fruit spread on top of a log of goat cheese for spreading on bread and crackers. Set out a plate of olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping bread!
- Go big or go home, dried salted nuts are great but I also encourage you to try Marcona almonds, spicy nut/seed mixes, caramelized nuts and even chocolate covered nuts or raisins.
- To complete your board add greens like lettuce leaves, basil, rosemary sprigs or thyme!
MAY I PLEASE ASK A LITTLE FAVOR?
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