Charcuterie translates to a store selling cured meats. Today we’re going to learn how to make a simple charcuterie board that is fitting to entertain guests, complement a picnic, or just to dine at home with your favorite glass of wine.
A charcuterie is simply using a butcher board used to organize cured meats, cheeses, crackers, bread, nuts, fresh fruit, dried fruits, olives, pickles, jams and sauces. The beauty of a charcuterie board is that each board is assembled by your favorite ingredients and can include an endless combination of flavors, textures and colors.
Below we’ll give you the basics on how to assemble a charcuterie board. The process should be simple enough to follow so that you can whip up a charcuterie board within minutes.
There are literally hundreds if not thousands of combinations of meats, cheeses, and condiments you can use for your charcuterie platter to please yourself and your guests.
How to Assemble a Charcuterie Platter
What goes on a charcuterie board?
There are no hard and fast rules about what goes on a charcuterie platter and that is what we most love about it. The combinations are endless.
The beauty of our simple charcuterie board is that you can be creative and customize it to exactly what you and your guests like. In addition to guest preference, pairing items with the other dishes you are serving can bring all the flavors together.
Typically a charcuterie board will include the following items:
- Cured Meats
- Assorted Cheeses
- Dried and/or Fresh Fruit
- Fresh, Roasted and/or Preserved Vegetables
- Sliced bread and/or crackers
- Jams or sauces
What meats should I include?
Honestly, anything that tickles your taste buds. Cured meats can be savory, spicy, light, etc.
Some meats that we love include Genoa Salami, Speck, Prosciutto, Pepperoni, Hams, head cheese and any other cured meats that you enjoy. You can find cured meats at your local grocery store in the cured meats section or in the deli.
You can also try the local butcher or specialty market for a more specialized and unique selection of meats. Don’t be afraid to ask for samples. You don’t want to regret buying 1/2 a pound of meat that you don’t enjoy.
What types of cheese should I use?
- We typically serve anywhere from 3-5 types of cheese on our charcuterie board. We like to include two soft cheeses, two hard, and something unique and new to try.
- Cheeses are best served at room temperature. Allow your cheeses to sit at room temperature for at least thirty minutes prior to serving.
- We also recommend using separate cheese knives so that flavors do not comingle.
- As for fruits, grapes, apples and strawberries pair with cheese really well.
Should I serve bread and crackers?
We like to use crostinis or sturdy chips or crackers as meat and cheese vessels. A sliced baguette loaf is also great for serving all the delicious meat and cheese. You’ll want to offer at least two options from this category. Try one soft and one hard option.
What nuts should I serve?
We recommend serving almonds, Marcona almonds, walnuts, pistachios or cashews. Make sure your guests are not allergic to nuts prior to serving. You can always serve the nuts in a separate container if that is the case.
What fruits should I serve?
Grapes and berries are super easy as they do not need preparation.
Other fruits that are great include pears, apples, melons and anything else that you think would complement your meats and cheese.
What pickled items are great for charcuterie plates?
We love to include cornichons and marinated olives on our charcuterie platters. Their tangy flavor is a great contrast to the creamy cheeses and savory salty meats.
Use sauces and jams to complete your charcuterie board!
And we NEVER forget to include jams and sauces on our board. Our sauces of choice are mustard, honey, and a fruit jam.
How much should I buy to serve?
As a rule of thumb, try to provide at least 2 ounces of meat per person. Cured meats are very rich and a little goes a long way. If your charcuterie platter is the main course, you are going to want to double the serving amount.
How should I organize the ingredients?
Lay the ingredients out into their own sections. with enough space in between so that you and your guests’ fingers do not touch everything. When possible, use serving tools such as cheese knives and small picks to handle the meat.
You may also have guests who do not dine on meat or have dairy restrictions, so make sure to check with your guests and use separate boards to not comingle the ingredients.
We hope you enjoy this simple charcuterie board with your guests, if you also want to explore more options for your visitors feel free to check our simple gazpacho recipe and the pumpkin whoopie pie recipe.