The Perfect At-Home Activity
Calling all at-home epicureans! Most of us are spending much more time at home than ever before, there’s never been a better time to showcase your creative kitchen skills with the widespread phenomenon known as the charcuterie board.
If you’re a foodie with a passion for exciting combinations of meats, cheeses, colorful fruits, and vegetables served with crunchy artisanal bread, you’ll love the many ways these versatile ingredients complement each other. Charcuterie boards are surprisingly easy to arrange, don’t need to be expensive, and offer the variety you need to please everyone’s appetite. These are perfect for date night or family game night! Here’s where to start:
The first thing you’ll need for your charcuterie masterpiece is the foundation, typically a platter, tray, or board made of wood or marble. Feel free to get creative and use whatever type of foundation you have on hand. You’ll also need some small dishes to place on the board for dips, nuts, or olives. A variety of shapes and colors will make your presentation pop, so feel free to use whatever you have in your cabinets.
The size of the foundation matters, as the more extensive the board you use, the more you’ll need to fill it. The great thing about charcuterie boards is their versatility, so there’s no right or wrong. Use your imagination, get creative, and have fun.
Meats & Cheeses
Variety is the essence of a charcuterie board, so you should include at least three types of cheeses and meats on your board. You can visit the deli counter at TooJay’s Deli and have them slice the exact amounts of meats and cheeses you need. The extensive menu includes provolone, Muenster, pastrami, roast beef, and more. If you’re in the mood for something straightforward and delicious, TooJay’s also offers an assortment of convenient catering platters of meats, cheeses, vegetables, and fruits, which you can deconstruct and use to build your board. Ordering is accessible by phone or online.
Extra Charcuterie Items
Although meats and cheeses are the stars of the show, other great ingredients can jazz up your board and make it your own unique creation. Jellies, jams, and spreads add another nice texture, especially if you don’t have a spreadable cheese on the board. Fruits and veggies add a fresh touch, balance the meats and cheeses’ saltiness, and provide a nice pop of color. Strawberries and grapes add a naturally fresh touch alongside the crunchiness of nuts, such as almonds and walnuts. Last but certainly not least, you’ll need a variety of bread and crackers. Pick up some of TooJay’s famous Rye Bread and cut slices into quarters for the perfect pairing.
Build Your Charcuterie Board
Now that you have your foundation and items, it’s time to build your charcuterie board. Think of it as creating a culinary collage. First, add structure by placing the smaller bowls with nuts or spreads on the board and continue to build your display around them. Folding each slice of meat gives a layered look and makes it easier to select a piece without touching the surrounding slices. It’s okay if items overlap and seem to blend together, like a delicious tapestry. Then add the crackers or bread, conveniently placing them near the meats and cheeses. Rather than just laying everything flat, you may want to stack some things and let others fall to the side. Fill in the open spots with colorful fruits, veggies, and any other garnishes you prefer.
Make sure you keep the 4 S’s of Charcuterie foremost in your mind as you decide what items to include; this keeps your board balanced and ensures that it will delight your taste buds!
- Sweet. Fruit (fresh and dried): grapes, strawberries, dates, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, figs, etc. Your spreads can also be sweet like the apricot jam, fig spread, jellies, etc.
- Savory. The cheese and meats take charge here. Prepare to have at least 3 varieties of each.
- Salty. Because the meats are cured, they are also salty. Cheese, nuts, and crackers are other sources of salty items.
- Spicy. You don’t need to go overboard here – maybe one or two items. Just make sure you let your guests know where the heat is on your charcuterie.
Voila! Your board is now ready to enjoy! The combination of sweet and savory flavors in an aesthetically pleasing arrangement is sure to get rave reviews. And since no French dish is complete without wine, choose a selection that pairs well with the meats and cheeses on your board.
All you need for a fantastic charcuterie board is a little imagination and a lot of appreciation for how delicious it can be. Whether you keep your board simple or dress it up, no rules apply. Whether you’re quarantining at home or social distancing with friends, a charcuterie board is a perfect way to make a meal your own.