Although dating back to the 15th century, charcuterie – the French word for ‘cooked meat’ – has been gaining popularity over the past five years. Charcuterie, originally developed as a way to preserve meats, can be seen on a number of restaurant menus, especially those taking artisanal qualities and the local movement into account. The inception of charcuterie in gourmet markets, however, has allowed us to create these beautiful plates at home. All you need is an excuse to throw a party and a little creativity. Follow these steps and you’ll be sure to have your guests “ooh-ing” and “ahh-ing.”
A charcuterie plate is all about the meat. Typical meats include dry-cured meat and dry-cured and cooked sausage. Popular items include prosciutto, mortadella, salami, and sopressata. However, the beauty of a charcuterie plate is that there is always room for flexibility. The Co-op carries a number of charcuterie-worthy including, La Quercia prosciutto and Speck, sopressata, and artisanal sausages.
Don’t forget the pâté
Unfortunately, pâté is something that’s usually forgotten on charcuterie plates. Pâté adds a nice touch, especially when entertaining. Try Rillettes or Pâté de Campagne.
Add some cheese
But not too much. You want to add enough cheese to balance the charcuterie, but not so much that it takes away from the focus – the meat. Challenge your palate and try something new, like blue Stilton, Manchego, or raw aged cheddar.
Skip the crackers
Thinly slice a baguette instead. Toast it lightly for some extra crunch.
Top it off
Add a few sliced apples or pears to accompany the charcuterie. Be creative and add something you’ve never tried before, such as cornichons or a rare variety of olives. Like the cheese, however, pickles, olives, and fruit should balance the acidity of the charcuterie but shouldn’t take over the plate.