If you’re a charcuterie connoisseur, you probably either keep some on hand or make your own preserved meats and artisan cheeses at home. Either way, putting together a charcuterie plate is a great way to make a splash at a family dinner, holiday party and even an impromptu gathering. Whether you’re throwing together a last-minute dish for pot-luck or completely forgot your in-laws are coming over for dinner, putting together a charcuterie platter in a rush is still sure to impress. Here are a few items you might have handy that you can place on a hasty plate:
Nuts make a great addition to a charcuterie platter. Their high oil content and rich flavors go great with a variety of preserved meats, and you can serve them salted or candied depending on the type of meat you feature. Pecans, walnuts and almonds are most commonly found on a charcuterie board.
Sweet garnishes like dried pineapple and apricots or apple slices with caramel will cut the saltiness of the cheese.
Anything pickled will make a great complement to the meat on your platter. Use the jar of pickles or green olives that are hiding in the back of your refrigerator.
Bread with cheese—duh! Serve slices of bread with the cheese of your choice. Breads with hard crusts such as baguettes and French bread are most common. If you do not have a loaf of bread handy, replace it with gourmet crackers.
Vegetables, when prepared correctly, can make a delicious edition to your throw-together plate. If you only have green vegetables like asparagus or broccoli, blanch them so they will be al dente and crisp or sauté red, orange and yellow peppers to add color to the dish.
If your plate is still looking a little sparse, remember that the right wine makes a great complement to a charcuterie dish. Stop by the store and grab a fruity white or a medium-bodied red to serve your guests.