How to Build a Charcuterie Board

November 7, 2018

 

 ...and a Kosher one at that. 

 

 

1. Start with a board: Though Charcuterie boards originated in Italy and have been around since probably forever, I find they fall into the "millennial-made-for-instagram-circa-now" category. And if that's the look you're going for (you're here, so I'm guessing it is,) I really love a wood or marble board. These are fairly inexpensive and are available on Amazon or in mass quantities at TJ Maxx and Home Goods. As far as shapes go, you can really have fun with it. Round, square or rectangle all work. If you're worried you don't have the right kind of board, any wood cutting board looks really rustic and nice. If you're in the mood to shop, I've linked some versions below. I myself used the round wood one.

 

2. Pick 3-5 different meats: In terms of how many meats to serve, I think 3-5 is the sweet spot. If you serve any more it can get a bit overwhelming - people won't remember what's what and may be inclined to skip it - but any less and you lose a bit of the excitement. In the photo above I had two types of Salami (duck and beef,) two types of bacon (beef and lamb,) and a little bit of beef jerky. I found people were intrigued and wanted to keep trying the next thing, so it was a good amount of variety without being completely overwhelming. 

 

3. Add crunch: Textures are important because realistically cured meats are a little....weird, texture wise. Adding a bit of crunch helps balance the experience. A cracker is the obvious choice, since it's also a vessel for the meat, but you can also add some breadsticks, cornichons, a few varieties of nuts, and pita chips.

 

4. Add condiments: You don't necessarily need to add these onto the platter; if you're short on space you can serve it alongside the platter, but condiments like mustard, jam or hot sauce can enhance the flavors of the meats. 

 

5. Add sweetness: I've always added grapes to my cheese boards because they filled negative space and looked pretty, but I find people tend to actually eat them. This  is true for the meat board as well. The meat flavors are pretty intense - smokey, spicy, meaty- so that bite of freshness from a grape can be a welcome experience between bites.

 

6. Garnish: To keep the plate from looking flat and monotone, add a pop of color. I chose rosemary sprigs which add both brightness and fragrance. 

 

 

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