The Ultimate Charcuterie Platter for the Holiday Season
I love having friends over but if you are as type A as I am, the first thought that comes to mind is , “what am I going to serve!”
After many get togethers, my go to appetizer is a Charcuterie or Cheese Platter. Sometimes it is my only course. After all…it is a complete meal! I absolutely love it and so does everyone else. What is so great is I am able to keep a lot of the essentials for these platters in stock at home and throw it together at a moments notice.
Everyone loves some great cheeses, meats and crackers and then I throw in some seasonal and dried fruits that I have on hand, some nuts, and a sweet spread or two. There really is no rules, however here are a few tips that I adhere by.
I usually go with 3 or 4 cheeses.
Hard- I usually go with ones with a little crunch or crystals, a Parmigiano-Reggiano or a Manchego.
Soft- I like a Brie. Sometimes I serve it straight up with a fig spread on the side or sometimes if I want it to be a little more decadent I mix a fig preserve, honey and pistachios and drizzle it all over the top. I also use Saint Andre which is really buttery and delish.
Aged- I go with aged Goat but a lot of my friends do a aged gouda or cheddar.
Funky- Blue or something stinky
Next step is all of extras. This is where you can add your personal touch.
Meats - I usually go with Prosciutto and Salami. A soft pate is always a great option and if my platters are my main course I like to take a great sausage and crisp it on the grill to add to the selection. Another great thing to serve with your meats is a whole grain mustard and cornichons, (tart little french pickles).
Fresh fruits - I love seasonal fruits and your local farmers market is a great resource. Right now I am using Persimmons, figs, dates and apricots. I also love Champagne grapes because they look so elegant on the platter.
Sweet Spreads - I love membrillo (a Spanish sweet fragrant paste) served with Manchego cheese, or a fig preserve. I usually get my preserves from friends who do it themselves from fruits from their gardens. For me, that makes it extra special. Honey is also a staple, and sometimes I take a goat cheese and roll it sunflower seeds and then drizzle the honey on top. Divine!
Carbs - I love a rosemary flat cracker or a super thin rice cracker and of course a great sourdough baguette sliced is always a winner
Olives - A large Spanish olive or the bright green firm Castevetrano Sicilian Green Olives are my fav’s.
Nuts - Truffled marcona almonds are my go to.
Most importantly have fun with it! The best part is being creative and putting it all together. It doesn't have to look perfect. I love the flow to be very organic. Find a great wooden, marble or slate platter. Use one or all! Grab some rosemary twigs to garnish and you are done!!!!!!