pronounced - shar-q-ter-ee in most places :-) in France: shär -ˌkü - tə -ˈrē :-) in the South: Char-Cuttery:-) and in our house - Sue-here-it-tis :-)
WHAT IS CHARCUTERIE? Learn about this delicacy
Derived from the French word for "cooked meat," charcuterie is a platter of fine cooked and dry-cured meats, sausages and pate with various acidic and savory garnishes. Today it is served as an appetizer and even an entree. Charcuterie boards are infinitely customizable -- mix-and-match meats, cheeses, terrines, and more. The best charcuterie boards include a showy array of colors, textures, and flavors.
What's on a Charcuterie Platter
Conventional Antipasto Meats
Prosciutto and cured Italian salamis are a big part of antipasto platters. Skewer the shaved prosciutto with cubes of fresh honeydew melon or cantaloupe and arrange thinly sliced mild coppa, Genoa and Columbus salami near a basket of crusty Italian bread rounds. If you can find imported mortadella made with pistachio nuts, add it to the antipasto meat selection.
Mix hard and soft cheeses on the platter. Pair aged Parmesano Reggiano with thinly sliced strips of fresh Asiago, Italian Fontina, Havarti, Provolone and Mozzarella. Add a creamy Camembert or young Brie to spread on water crackers as a creative extra.
Marinated and Preserved Vegetables
Sliced or chunked Roma tomatoes marinated in Italian dressing complement the other antipasto offerings. Include a selection of jarred roasted yellow and red peppers, marinated artichoke hearts and mushrooms and spicy pepperoncini or giardiniera. Capers and sweet pickles add color and texture to the plate.
No antipasto platter would be complete without a mixture of olives on it. Choose a selection of gourmet Colossole, Nicoise and Kalamata olives from the olive bar of an Italian market or deli and add an assortment of jarred green olives stuffed with garlic, blue cheese and cocktail onions.
Breads, Breadsticks and Crackers
The richness of the antipasto foods complements the tastes and textures of bread and breadsticks. Offer an array of traditional Italian breads like ciabatta or focaccia cut into bite-size pieces and fill an oversized wine goblet with a variety of plain and flavored breadsticks. Keep the cracker selection simple so it does not compete with the complex flavors of the other foods.
Add some flair to the traditional antipasto platter by dressing it up with few modern touches. Pick up some grilled deli vegetables like eggplant and zucchini to add interest to the plate and, if they're in season, edge the dish with fresh figs. Deviled eggs go well with antipasto food and add color to the table. Fill a few bowls with roasted pine nuts, almonds and walnuts and arrange them on the tabletop.
Things you need to make your first
High-quality kitchen knife
Crusty country bread slices
3/4 cup cornichons
4 tbsp. grainy mustard
Dry-cured meats selection, such as lomo, duck prosciutto and Serrano ham
Dry-cured sausage selection, such as sopressatta, chorizo and saucisson sec
Cooked sausage, sliced paper-thin, such as mortadella and garlic sausage
Chicken liver pate
Select two or three meats in each category: dry-cured meat, dry-cured sausages and cooked sausages. Ask the butcher to slice the meats paper-thin.Refrigerate meats until ready to use.About 20 minutes before serving, remove meat from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.To assemble the charcuterie platter, fold meats in half and place the on the platter. Group them by type, taking care to overlap slices, and save space for pate and accompaniments. Group accompaniments in small piles around the platter and serve.