Boards filled with decadent meat and cheese keep appearing on your social media feed and on the tables of every party you attend. Is that the hallelujah chorus you hear in the background? Charcuterie boards are suddenly all the rage, and rightly so — these glorious meat and cheese boards are just as tasty as they are trendy.
Charcuterie (pronounced shar-koot-er-ee) is the culinary art of preparing meat products such as bacon, sausage, ham, salami and more.
The only real requirement to technical charcuterie is that the meat be salted or prepared in a way that it will last. Though we enjoy it as a delicacy today, charcuterie’s origins are rooted in the practical need for food to have a lasting shelf life.
Charcuterie has been around for thousands of years, and the literal translation is “cooked meat.” Today, many people use the term charcuterie to refer to not only the meat itself, but also the presentation of the meat on a platter accented with piles of assorted cheeses, fruits, nuts and crackers.
So why do you need to get on board with this food-focused trend? This snack-style meal is ideal for sharing, and the abounding pairing options make it a dish that pleases almost anyone. Plus, no real cooking is required, making charcuterie boards the perfect addition to a picnic or party.
Ideally, a charcuterie platter has a thoughtful balance of flavors and textures that simultaneously contrast and compliment. But don’t let that scare you away; putting together a delicious and impressive-looking charcuterie board does not have to be difficult or expensive.
Start with the basics: a few pre-sliced deli meats, packaged cheeses and about four accompaniments. You don’t need to buy 100-year-old aged salami and prosciutto straight from Italy, or a whole bunch of cheeses with names you can’t pronounce.
A great charcuterie board can truly just be an array of simple ingredients that pop in presentation. If you want some charcuterie inspiration when assembling your board, follow @thatcheeseplate and @cheesebynumbers on Instagram.
One thing I’ve learned from @thatcheeseplate is that a salami river is essential to any good charcuterie board. In a salami river, tri-folded salami centers the board, weaving throughout the array of toppings and crackers.
Try pairing your choice of meats and cheeses with some fruit for acidity and nuts or crackers for crunch. Fruit will make your board more colorful, and crackers or nuts will fill in any gaps. If you’re feeling fancy, add sprigs of rosemary or thyme.
When it comes to making delicious charcuterie boards, the options are endless. If you make a charcuterie board, post a picture and tag @hustudentpubs. Have fun and get creative!