A Charcuterie Board makes entertaining super easy. Whether you call it a charcuterie plate or a charcuterie board, it’s easy to make when you begin with quality smoked, cured, and cooked meats. The perfect charcuterie board will contain at least 3 to 5 types of charcuterie representing different styles and textures, an assortment of cheese, plus something acidic, like pickles and olives, and something sweet like fruit chutney to complement the flavors. Nuts, fresh and dried fruits, bread, and crackers also make wonderful accompaniments.
Start with a wooden board, plate, platter, or piece of slate as the base.
Choose at least 3 to 5 charcuterie items that represent various styles and textures: smoked and meaty, dry-cured and firm, cooked and creamy. Allow two ounces per person, and slice your charcuterie into easily manageable, bite-sized pieces.
Spread the pieces out on the board, leaving space between them for accompaniments.
Add mustard, cornichons, olives, or chutney, so the acidity can balance the fat in the charcuterie.
Fresh fruits like grapes, figs, sliced pears, and apples, and any dried fruits like raisins, currants, apricots, cherries, and pears will round out the board, and add color. Use the fruits as palate cleansers between bites of charcuterie.
Place sliced bread, or various types of crackers, around the edges of the board, or tuck them between sections of charcuterie.
Cheese is a welcome addition to a charcuterie board. Choose 2 to 3 types of different textures to complement the spread.
Add truffle butter, which is especially tasty on a slice of bread with dry-cured meats like saucisson sec.
A hearty red wine makes a good accompaniment, such as Côtes-du-Rhône, Gigondas or Madiran.
Types Of Charcuterie To Consider:
Prosciutto: Probably the most recognizable pork offering on the list. Each region of Italy has its own signature recipe and flavor profile, but the most common are from Parma, Tuscany, and San Daniele. Culatello is a boneless cousin of prosciutto with a higher meat-to-fat ration. If you’d like to avoid the fat, Spanish lomo and Italian lonzaare alternatives made with pork loin.
Soppressata: We like to think of soppressata as the adult pepperoni. This salumi is generally made from dry-cured, coarse ground pork with red pepper flakes from Southern Italy, though regional variations do exist.
Finocchiona: Packed with fennel seeds, this skinny Italian salami was first created during the Renaissance. If you’re not a fan of anise, try French saucisson sec, made with garlic and pepper.
Chicken Liver Mousse: This creamy, butter spread is a nice introduction pâté for those who are new to offal.
Pork Rillette: If you love pulled pork then this is for you. This rillette is slow cooked with spices, cut up, often pounded into a paste and topped off with rendered fat.
Speck: This lightly smoked prosciutto comes from Northern Italy. Also, worth getting is guanciale, cut from the jowl, or a spice-cured fatback called lardo.
Chorizo Picante: A Spanish pork salami, chorizo picante is spiced with hot paprika, not to be confused with the fresh chorizo sausages of Latin America.
Coppa: Short for capocollo, coppa is an Italian and Corsican dry-cured pork neck and shoulder salume (capo is Italian for head, while collo means neck). A spicy version is also available.
Duck Rillette: In this rillette, duck leg confit is shredded before being mixed with spices and Armagnac. It’s then crowned with duck fat, which is more delectable and slightly lower in saturated fats than pork.
Mousse du Périgord: A signature creation of Les Trois Petits Cochons, a famed charcuterie formed in New York City’s Greenwich Village, this blend of chicken and turkey livers is infused with herbs and bits of black truffle. Expect a bite that’s silky and smooth, with a top layer of aspic, a meat jelly.
Jamón Ibérico de Bellota: This is where jamon reaches its peak. It’s a Spanish ham where the pigs are allowed to graze acorns and herbs freely, which gives the meat a very unique aroma. A more affordable version is jamón serrano. For a woodsy addition, Bauernschinken is a similar option that’s smoked with juniper.
Bresaola: An air-dried beef round from Northern Italy’s Lombardy region.
Black Truffle Salami: Creminelli offers a tartufo salami that’s delicious. It’s embedded with summer truffles whose flavors and aroma integrate beautifully with the pork.
Rabbit Rillette: Versions of this rillette can be perfumed with juniper, mace and/or thyme. Rabbits aren’t as fatty as other animals, so these are often topped with duck fat.
Pâté de Campagne: Country pâté can be tough for some people because of its visible parts of offal and fat. Trust in a high-quality pâté that showcases beautiful chunks of ham. For an impressive upgrade, try pâté en croûte, a rustic loaf of pâté wrapped in pastry.
Tips For Serving:
Charcuterie can be enjoyed as an appetizer or a meal. If you want prosciutto for breakfast, go for it. For entertaining, charcuterie is a popular option because it can be put together ahead of time and covered with plastic wrap.
Remove all inedible material like twine, cloth, and tough salami casing before slicing.
Cubes are fine for cheese and cold cuts, but chunky charcuterie might be hard to bite or deliver too much salt per portion. Salted cured meats are best sliced thin and served immediately.
When you place charcuterie, drape each slice like you just shaved it yourself. Not only does it look attractive, it keeps each piece separated so that guests won’t struggle to peel them apart.
Choose a flat board or platter so everything can get picked up with tongs or a fork. It’s especially important if anything needs to be sliced, like a loaf of pâté.
Lipped, round serving trays are great if there are jars, small bowls, or ramekins that may be prone to slipping. To prevent small containers from sliding, wet a small cocktail napkin and fold it so it is hidden beneath the container.
Eat sliced meats with your hands, forks, or toothpicks. Don’t forget a knife for the pâté and rillettes.
Have fun with thin sliced meats by wrapping them around melon, asparagus, batons of cheese or grissini.
Since charcuterie tends to be in the red-brown range of the color spectrum, lay down a bed of sturdy greens like arugula as a base. In addition to being visually impressive, it makes cleaning much easier.
Invite cultured butter and cheese to the party. Let butter soften to room temperature so it’s easy to spread. Cheese from the same regions as your meats will complement each other nicely.
“Work With What You Got!”
©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2019 All Rights Reserved
If you’re preparing for an outdoor party or get-together set the stage ahead of time by purchasing disposable plates, cups, silverware, and napkins. Make sure to have trash bags, paper towels, and cleaning supplies on hand. Clear off the counters and dishwasher in advance, so you have an open work space. If you’re dining al fresco for two then, by all means, use real dishes.
During your party or get-together make sure to leave trash and recycling bins accessible to guests. Because you’re unable to monitor everything, recruit a few people to help you take charge of specific tasks like replenishing drinks and periodically clearing away trash.
For cleanup use large trays for transporting food and supplies back to the house. Pack up leftovers, using resealable bags instead of more bulky plastic containers. Soak pots, pans, grill tools, and dishes to make them easier to clean. Designate a family member to clean one section of the yard.
“Work With What You Got!”
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2017 All Rights Reserved
In the mid-19th century, Irish immigrants to North America brought with them the Gaelic celebrations of All Hallows’ Eve, replete with trick playing and fortune telling. At that time, pranks were mild. Shop signs were switched, gates disassembled, and flour-filled socks were flung at those wearing black coats. Over time the mischief evolved into straight-up vandalism, and people often awoke on November 1st to broken windows or even blazing fires. At the height of the Great Depression, some cities considered banning the holiday. But a few cities, like Chicago, had a much better idea – to busy the idle hands of potential troublemakers with festivities and encourage homeowners to do the same. Because money was scarce, families often held “house-to-house parties,” which kept the children moving door to door for a different entertainment or treat. I guess treats are an excellent bribe for warding off mischief.
“Work With What You Got!”
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2016 All Rights Reserved
New Year’s Eve is about celebration, which most definitely calls for caviar and champagne. If you’re having a party or small get-together here are a few important tips about caviar.
Keep it simple! When serving caviar, keep it simple. You certainly don’t want to spring for something so speak jut to cover up the flavor with a lot of overkill. Caviar is intensely flavorful, and it goes well with crème fraiche or sour cream and blini. Try it with small boiled potatoes, seafood, soft or hard boiled eggs, or buttered pasta. Caviar can be used almost like a precious garnish, which can also be a great way to stretch out a small amount of it.
Keep it cool! When you bring caviar home, place in the refrigerator immediately in its tin. Place in the coldest part of your fridge, which is usually in the back of the deli drawer. If you’re making hors d’oeuvres, make sure to work quickly and serve immediately or place the completed snacks back in the fridge so that the eggs are sitting out on the table or counter. If you plan on serving the caviar straight up, place the tin or place in another bowl over crushed ice. The caviar doesn’t need to be freezing cold, but should be kept cool so the eggs hold their shape and freshness.
No metal please! Probably the most important rule with caviar is making sure it doesn’t come into contact with reactive metal. You certainly don’t want your precious caviar tasking like metal. This also goes for that beautiful tiny metal spoon you’ve been dying to use. Traditionally, a mother-of-pearl spoon is used to serve caviar. If you don’t have a mother-of-pearl spoon then don’t fret. Wood, ceramic, and glass utensils all work. Just make sure whatever non-metal spoon you use is a dainty little thing.
Leftovers you say? Holy moly, if you’re lucky enough to have leftover caviar please don’t throw it out or freeze it. Eat some more the next day and go out and buy yourself a lottery ticket. Leftover caviar is like seeing a unicorn. There are a number of ways to enjoy it by tossing it with buttered pasta or top your scrambled eggs with it. The good news is that your leftover caviar should last in your refrigerator for about a week.
Happy New Year’s Eve!
"Work With What You Got!"
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen
Ways To Resist Overeating During The Holidays
Tiny New York Kitchen’s new motto is that December is the new January! With countless cocktail parties, cookie exchanges, and holiday meals this time of year, even the most responsible eaters can be tempted to go all out. Here are a few tips that can prevent total diet derailment, and still enjoy yourself, during the holiday season.
Fill your fridge with healthy, protein-rich snacks that will fill you up and keep you full so that you are less likely to indulge during holiday festivities.
Decide which temptations you would like to resist and to what degree. Remember moderation is key!
Indulge wisely. Allow yourself to enjoy those must-have treats that you look forward to all year long. Whether it’s eggnog, mashed potatoes, pecan pie, or red velvet cake – keep in mind that there is no need for an all-out binge-fest. Enjoy a reasonable yet rewarding amount of holiday foods that you absolutely love. Remember that no single meal will wreck your waistline.
Pay attention to how much water you are drinking. Try and consume 8 to 10 glasses of water per day.
Hit the gym. This way if you do indulge a bit at least it can be somewhat “guilt-free.”
Eat breakfast! When you skip breakfast you set yourself up to eat more at the next meal. Whatever you do, eat breakfast!
To recover the day after “food hangover” feeling that follows a rich meal, eat a normal breakfast with protein, such as yogurt or eggs, the next morning. The rest of the day, avoid refined carbs, drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water to flush out the sodium. Also, fill up on “clean” foods such as fruits, vegetables, and protein.
Freeze those leftovers. Have leftover pecan pie? Freeze it! Storing tempting foods in the freezer to keep them out of sight means you’re much less likely to eat them since you’d have to defrost them first.
Be a smart snacker! Before you head out to those holiday parties, have a nibble of something so you don’t risk becoming starved. A handful of nuts, a mozzarella stick, Greek yogurt, or protein bar will work wonders.
Double up on those drinks! When you arrive at a party, start with a non-alcoholic drink to quench your thirst. Then have a glass of wine, champagne, or cocktail, but always alternate with zero-calorie liquids such as water or club soda. You’ll feel much better at the end of the night, and certainly the next day.
It’s ok to tell lies, but do it politely, of course. It’s hard to say “no” to your boss or your nana when they offer you a treat. Tell them thank you and take it. Tell them how delicious it looks, but that you’ve just eaten and are going to save it for later. Wrap it up and take it with you. If it ends up in the trash or given to someone else then that’s A-Okay!
If you’re going to a holiday party, offer to bring a healthy dish that you love. Bringing something healthy that you love will guarantee that there is something healthy that you can fill your plate with. It will also give you a chance to show your friends, family or coworkers that healthy food can taste great.
Get Up, Stand Up! When you’re at a party or buffet, get one plate, and then step away from the food table, but stay on your feet! Standing up helps with digestion and makes it more difficult to keep piling food on your plate, and burn calories.
Get thyself distracted! After a holiday meal, get your mind off food by offering to help clear the table or do the dishes. Chew a piece of gum or pop a breath mint. Its kind of like brushing your teeth so that you won’t be tempted to ruin your fresh breath for another piece of pecan pie.
Cut those serving portions down. There is no need to ruin a family recipe by reducing sugar or cutting out fatty ingredients. Instead make the real version of your great-grandmother’s famous date-nut cake, but cut it into 18 small slices rather than 10 giant pieces.
If you do overeat don’t beat yourself up, acknowledge it and then let it go. If you do go a little crazy at a party, it’s really not helpful to beat yourself up about it. Each day and each party is like a “reset,” it’s a chance to try again.
"Work With What You Got!”
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen