March 20, 2013

Cheese Board ~ Antipasti ~ Charcuterie

When I put together a display of meats, cheese, vegetables, crackers, spreads and breads, I try to use flavors that will complement each other and satisfy a variety of guests.  Here are some tips.  
  • It should have a range of meat items representing the various styles of preparation from cooked to dry-cured. 
  • The meats should be complemented by something acidic, like marinated olives, or pickled onions.  
  • when choosing cheese, pick a soft and a hard variety
  •  mustard makes a nice accompaniment, as do spreads and jams.   
  • Allow two ounces per person, and serve with a rustic bread or good crackers.
  •  A hearty red wine (but not too heavy) will make a good accompaniment, as would a Riesling or Pinot Grigio.  
  • I typically use a large cutting board to display the selections.  No extra dishes necessary.  Everything right on the board.  

1. The Meat
Any combination of the following, THINLY sliced:
Softer in texture
  • prosciutto 
  • cappicolla 
Firm texture 
  • pepperoni 
  • sopressata or other salami
2 Cheeses
When in doubt, ask your local cheese purveyor what they recommend. I generally try to include both hard and soft cheeses on my boards, with pungent, creamy, and tangy options.

  • smooth: munster or havarti
  • strong: gorgonzola or blue
  • firm: sharp cheddar or an aged Manchego
  • Swiss cheeses like Gruyere or Emmentaler
It can be helpful to choose a few cheeses from a single region
3.  The Bread
  • Crostini: grill thinly sliced sourdough and Italian breads
  • Rosemary Foccacia
  • Crispy flatbread or water crackers.  
4. Accompaniments
  • Garlic Stuffed Olives
  • Marinated Olives ( alone or as a spread, see recipe below)
  •  Broccoli stem salad (recipe Below)
  • Pickled vegetables like onion & peppers
    Avocado & Feta Cheese Salsa
 5. Spreads

 Finalize it by adding a dollop of grainy mustard to the tray and  large leaves of fresh basil.Carefully arrange your antipasti board.
  
Marinated Olive Spread recipe:
 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups  cracked green olives
1 1/2 cups kalamata olives
2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
Stir the oil, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes in a heavy small skillet over medium heat just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Add the olives and toss to coat.  
To make it a spread:
Pulse 2-3 times in  Cuisinart or smash with a fork.  Serve with grilled crusty bread.
 Broccoli Stem Salad recipe
2-3  broccoli stalks, peeled and thinly sliced into dime like pieces
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/12 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tsp. of sugar
salt and pepper
Toss all ingredients together.  Let sit for about 30 minutes for flavors to be absorbed by the broccoli stalks. 

Other Ideas
Carpaccio
Beef tenderloin seared to rare then thinly sliced, served with
roasted pepper relish, parmesan, atop garlic rubbed crostini
with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Tomato Bruschetta 
Tomatoes marinated in extra virgin olive oil, red onion, basil and
balsamic vinegar with Parmesan cheese on toasted crostini.

Enjoy experimenting with various flavors and textures complimenting them with other Italian appetizers....

Charcuterie

Charcuterie
So what is  “charcuterie”? Pronounced shahr-koo-tuh-ree it is a French word that comes from chair “flesh” and cuit “cooked.” It refers to cooked, cured or smoked meats such as bacon, ham, sausage, terrines, rillettes, galantines, pâtés and dry-cured sausageI see a charcuterie platter the same style  as a antipasti platter in Italian dining.  
  Making a Charcuterie plate

Just like a cheese board, a charcuterie platter focuses on the meats. It is an ideal way to serve a party and please all palates. 
  • It should have a range of items representing the various styles of preparation from cooked to dry-cured. 
  • The meats should be complemented by something acidic, like marinated olives, or pickled onions.  
  • Mustard makes a nice accompaniment, as do spreads and jams.   
  • Allow two ounces per person, and serve with a rustic bread or good crackers.
  •  A hearty red wine (but not too heavy) will make a good accompaniment, as would a Riesling or Pinot Grigio.  
Specific Suggestions:
Meats:
  • Hard sausage like Salami, Cervelat and Soprasatta
  • Soft cured meats like Serrano and Prosciutto
  • Dried Chorizo
Bread:
Put simply, you can’t have enough. Buy bread the day of and serve warm in a separate bowl or basket next to your board.
  • Sourdough
  • french baquette 
  • water crackers

  Other accompaniments:

2 comments:

  1. WOW - great photos and interesting information! Thank You for sharing! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great tips. All to easy to plonk some cheese down with little thought. I adore a good cheese board! Especially with some crunchy slivers of pear.

    Homeware is an online store that specialises in sourcing innovative and useful products ensuring each of our items are of superb quality.

    cheese board & salad bowl

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...