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How to build the perfect charcuterie board

This Week's Challenge: Charcuterie

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How to build the perfect charcuterie board

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Party season is encroaching. Between the sporting events and holidays, there's always a reason to bust out an awesome charcuterie board.

The key to a great charcuterie board is not only variety, but quantity too. I love to have as many options available to try as many flavor combos as I can sink my teeth into.

Starting with the cheeses - I love to offer an array of cheese from sharp to mellow, soft to hard. For this particular charcuterie board, I chose cheeses with fruit infusions like cranberry Stilton and mango goat cheese. And of course, the classics like gouda and cheddar are required. I got all my cheeses from the 'sampler' section of the cheese deli at my local store - there you can get small amounts of incredible cheeses without breaking the bank. I think in total, I only spent about $10 on all my cheese.

Next are your meat options. From jerky to prosciutto, salami and pepperoni, the more cured meats available, the better. Most grocers I've seen offer variety packs of meats, but I always find it fun to pursue strange meat options like kangaroo jerky if they are available.

I also like to have some sweet choices on the board paired with extra soft cheese like brie or even something basic like cream cheese. Along with oranges and grapes, apples, figs, and dried fruits are always welcome on my table.

Then come the toppings - on my board, I chose random ingredients from my fridge door that I knew would compliment both pita and crackers. Again, I'm all about the sweet and savory options - I even snuck a little heat onto my board in the form of red pepper jelly. Classic toppings include hummus and orange fig jam, but I included some Thai peanut sauce for a fun little twist. Options like capers and olives are always fun too, and even 'snacky' stuff like pistachios or grape tomatoes can help round out the board.

Finally, the best charcuterie boards not only sport a variety of things to choose from, but presentation can go a long way too. Since we eat with our eyes first, I like to make sure my charcuterie board is full to the top and every inch is covered in something delicious.

Categories: Side Dish , 52 Weeks of Cooking , Holiday Recipes , Appetizers , Brunch , Snacks

Tags: appetizers , Charcterie , Cured Meat , Sauce , Cheese , Fruit , Jerky

The Starving Chef Blog

How to build the perfect charcuterie board

Ingredients:

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  • party crackers, variety
  • pita bread
  • jerky, prosciutto, salami and pepperoni sticks
  • creme de brie, cream cheese
  • mango harvarti, cranberry/raspberry stilton
  • sharp cheddar, aged gouda
  • green grapes
  • orange slices
  • pistachios
  • orange fig jam
  • spicy pepper jelly
  • Thai peanut sauce
  • hummus
  • antipasta, olives
  • grape/cherry tomatoes
  • capers

Here's How:

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  1. Arrange all the meats and cheeses on a single serving board and surround with assorted crackers, fruits, jams, jellies, sauces, and dips. Include a 'sweet corner' of the board for the oranges, grapes or other fruit items. Enjoy with soft pitas and fresh toppings like capers. Serve chilled or room temperature. Enjoy!

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