The Art of the Charcuterie..
By MissHostess on November 25, 2012
I kind of cringe when I see those meat and cheese trays that are sold at the grocery store. I see how perfectly placed each piece of cheese is, and how perfectly folded each piece of salami is, and I don't like it! There should be nothing perfect about food. Food should be whole and organic, left untouched and not played with. Maybe I'm taking this to the extreme. But hey, I take my cheese and dried meats seriously. Have you tasted this stuff?!
Here I share my knowledge of putting together a charcuterie plate. Perfect for absolutely any occasion, such as your next cocktail or dinner party. You can also be creative and showcase the best of the local cured meats and artisan cheeses.
Taken from the term cuiseur de chair , meaning "cooker of meat," charcuterie has been considered a French culinary art at least since the 15th century. It refers to the products, particularly (but not limited to) pork specialties such as PÂTÉS, RILLETTES, GALANTINES, CRÉPINETTES, etc., which are made and sold in a delicatessen-style shop, also called a charcuterie . –taken from epicurious.com
This appetizer can also be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge until ready to serve. As an accompaniment, you can grill or toast slices of a baguette, and rub each slice with a glove of garlic before serving.
Visit your local delicatessen for some good quality meats for this platter. Imported prosciutto or smoked sausage are great starters. Remember that the meats will be the main attraction of this appetizer, so showcase some fine meats. Other examples are Sopressata, and Cappocolo. I find it best to lay flat the pieces of salami, and, to just "drop" the prosciutto, as it can be very delicate and soft. This also helps to add "volume" to the platter, and dimension.
Assorted cheeses (at least three kinds, varying in taste and texture, such as havarti, aged white cheddar, and blue cheese). Arrange these on the platter with the meats. How you cut the cheese will depend heavily on the cheese's firmness. Read here for more information about cutting and arranging cheeses.