Making A Charcuterie Board How To
Recipe courtesy of Martha Tinkler for Food Network Kitchen

How To Build a Perfect Charcuterie Board

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 30 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
A beautiful charcuterie board is a statement piece and a time saver, since it typically requires no cooking. The word "charcuterie" refers to cold cooked, cured or smoked meats, and it’s also the name of the French stores in which they are sold. So, in the most official sense, a traditional charcuterie board is just a meat platter. These days, charcuterie boards have risen to a revered status in the world of snacks and appetizers, with most boards incorporating cheese, fresh and dried fruit, nuts, pickles and other treats. Aim for contrasting and complementary tastes and textures when choosing pairings and experiment with flavor combinations: sharp cheeses such as asiago or Roquefort drizzled with honey or paired with jam, dry, salty crystallized cheeses such as Parmesan or Pecorino paired with fatty cuts of meat like soppressata or bresaola, crunchy nuts or crackers with gooey triple-cream or burrata and piquant condiments such as mustard and pickles to cut through the richness of salami or pâté.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Place each type of meat on a different section of a large serving board. To make the slices easy to grab and visually interesting, fold and shape them in a variety of ways. You can make rosettes by folding pieces of meat in half and then rolling each up like a cigar. Pinch the cured ham into little mounds or arrange in swirls. Salamis can be rolled or folded into quarters and stretched across a section of the board in little "rivers." Add the spreads to the board next, either mounded directly on the board or in small containers or on plates with a broad knife for spreading.
  2. Divide the cheeses among the sections, pairing them with the meats and spreads to contrast flavors and textures. Experiment with combinations. Try a creamy burrata or Brie as a companion to salty-sweet prosciutto; match a firm or hard cheese like asiago with a soft, mild mortadella; place a mild buttery fontina with a spicy salami to mellow it out. To encourage noshing, break the hard cheese into large shards, cut a wedge or two from a full wheel and slice some of the bigger blocks into easy-to-grab pieces.
  3. Pour the honey into a small glass jar or bowl, sprinkle in a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and nestle it among the meats and cheeses with a little spoon for serving. Place the quince paste on a small plate or cutting board and the fig jam in a small bowl and place them among the meats. Arrange bundles of grapes near the saltier cheeses.
  4. Put the pickled vegetables, cornichons and mustard in separate small bowls and add them to the board. Fill in some the empty spaces with piles of nuts and apricots. Plug other blank spots with the figs or other fresh fruit. Fill in any remaining spaces with the baguette pieces, crostini, crisps and crackers, then put any remaining in a separate dish or basket.
  5. Serve the board at room temperature with an assortment of knives for cutting and spreading, small forks for spearing and spoons for drizzling and scooping. The board can sit at room temperature for up to 2 hours.