Second to a cheese board, a charcuterie board has become my second favorite item to order at a restaurant. During my last visit in Chicago, I enjoyed a fantastic charcuterie plate at Publican Quality Meats. And, ever since consuming that plate of food, I've been a sucker for cured meats, pâtes, rillettes, and all the briny fixins of a traditional charcuterie board.
As simple it is to devour, it is just as easy to create.
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I showcased a range of meat products, from a smooth truffle mousse pâte, to silky, paper-thin slices of melt-in -your- mouth Serrano ham and coppa. The addition of Olympic Provisions' (amazing) Loukanika Salami with cumin and orange zest provides a bit more texture, chew, and punch of flavor.
No charcuterie board is complete without accompaniments.
Acidic accompaniments like cornichons, whole grain French mustard, and peppery radishes counteract the richness of meat and add texture. Marcona almonds also provide a nice crunch, and are fun to just pop in your mouth.
Apricot preserves are a sweet, and unexpected accompaniment. A little spoonful of apricot preserves with pâte on a petit toast is a wondrous flavor combination.
You'll notice that I added Taleggio cheese to the charcuterie board. I just had to! Taleggio is an Italian, washed-rind cheese with such an umami, beefy quality. It's one of my favorite cheeses and pretty darn close to eating meat. In fact, washed-rind cheeses were enjoyed by monastery monks who refrained from eating meat during lent!
I like to serve a rustic baguette, petit toasts and water thin crackers.
Bread is a must have, I love Acme Bread's sweet baguette.
Petit toasts are perfectly bite size and are a great, crusty backdrop for pâte and even cheeses.
Water thin crackers are your everything cracker and have a lovely crisp texture that does not interfere with the flavor of your meats.
One of the reasons why I really enjoy charcuterie platters is being able to mix up and come up with different flavor combinations. A little bit of this, a spoonful of that... I encourage you to have fun and layer ingredients to come up with unique and exciting combinations!
photography by Maki Photography, styling by me