Today I’m giving you a non recipe. This is just a platter of somewhat artistically arranged stuff. But for the same plate you can get charged about between $10 and $20 in any restaurant. And that is for a plate serving a maximum of 2 people. So why not take the cue from those restaurants and make our own charcuterie plates to serve as an appetizer to guests?
Here is a pic of the plate I served on a dinner recently. It was nothing more than sliced cured meats, bread, olives and spreads from a jar, but it looked great. My guests loved it and thought I had gone to great length to get that dish together, while it took me no more than 10 minutes to arrange the whole thing.
My only suggestion is to choose good ingredients. Pick your olives at an olive bar, bake your own bread or use some good artisan breads and if at all possible slice the meats at the last minute using a meat slicer. Talking of which, I bought a meat slicer last year and I don’t think there is a more useful tool in my kitchen. I use it to slice anything, but it comes in particularly handy for slicing veggies thinly and evenly and to slice meat, both cured and fresh. When used for meats it can also help you save quite a bit as you can buy the meats in cheaper large cuts and break them down at home easily and evenly. If you are on the fence about it, I’d say go ahead and buy it!
- cured meats thinly sliced - here coppa, pancetta, mortadella and prosciutto cotto
- homemade bread
- spreads (here ajavar and roasted eggplant)
- parmesan cheese
- Take a large wooden board and artistically arrange your cured meats, the sliced bread, and the cups with the spreads and the olives.
- For the bread, use some kind of artisan or rustic bread. For this plate I used a home baked bread made by substituting 1/10 of the flour with rye flour and adding sunflower and poppy seeds to the basic dough.
- I had also made some shuettelbrot, Tyrolean crisp rye bread. It is quite difficult to find over here and my recipe is not yet perfect, so substitute with your favorite crispy bread.
- The cheese you can either cut in wedges or bake into crisps. To bake into crisps, grate the cheese and place in thin circles on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Place in the oven at 400F until it melts and starts bubbling (about 5 minutes but keep an eye on it because it goes fast). Take out of the oven and let cool before arranging on the platter.
- If you want to overdo it you can also prepare some homemade pate, headcheese or pork belly. It is quick to make, cheap and very impressive!
- Watch as the guests marvel at your awesome charcuterie plate.
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