How to : Charcuterie
Charcuterie is getting a lot of attention these days, and with good cause! It's delicious, easy to prepare, and also sounds very fancy. All the wins. I recently was asked if I had any suggestions for someone wanting to incorporate charcuterie into a dinner party and (while I'm certainly no pro) I thought of the following:
The first two things you need to know are 1.) what charcuterie means 2.) how to say it. Since dictionary pronunciations are actually quite confusing with all their bars and dots and squiggles, I have written it out phonetically, for your humor and convenience : Shar-coo-ter-EE.
Classy. Just like the French would say it.
Charcuterie is a French style of butchery, and it also incorporates foods that would be sold in such a shop- cheeses, nuts, pickles, olives, fruit, etc. One of my friends invited us over for some house worship and charcuterie and I've based the list off of some of what we had there. Here are the absolute basics.
You can use any sort of cured meats, cold cuts, or sausages that tickle your fancy. We had prosciutto and mozzarella rolls, salami, and summer sausage. You could also serve these with those cute little bread sticks or crackers if you'd like, because they will stretch it further and they are also just delicious.
Offer cheeses with a variety of sharpness. My favorites are extra sharp cheddar (mercyyy) and herbed gouda. Brie would be delicious, especially if paired with fruit preserves. You can use any other cheeses you find pretty or tasty. And while you're in the area, pick up some feta so you can make Shauna's Bacon- Wrapped Dates.
This recipe for Pesto Almonds is extraordinary, and could be fun if you're willing to plan ahead a little. If not, dry-roasted almonds, salted cashews, or really any other nuts you like will do!
I set out a sliced loaf of French bread with some blackberry jam, kosher dill pickles, and green and black olives. I like to have dried apricots and dried figs for a little sweetness. My absolute favorite, though, are sliced pears with the sharp cheddar. Yes, at the same time. Just put a little shard of sharp cheddar on your pear and take a bite. Decide not to announce what a revelation this is and secretly eat it all yourself.
You can be really flexible with all this, these are just the basics. Add what you like! The next time we do charcuterie, I am definitely making pear, honey and goat cheese crostini, and probably featuring more of a variety of meats. You could also have focaccia bread with olive oil for dipping, or melba toasts with hummus or tapenade. This is basically just an excuse (finally!) to make a meal of appetizers. Which I usually do anyway.
Mel rolled out some kraft paper on her table (pictured above) and drew cute little labels around all the food. This spares the trouble of setting out individual bowls of everything, and makes it easier to serve. Clean up? Roll it up and throw it away. I wish I could do this every day of my life.