A charcuterie board is key to every good holiday gathering. It may be considered an appetizer—but for many of us—it's the main event. Chef and Owner Bill Minder of Il Porcellino Salumi gave us the ins and outs to creating a grade a board full of flavor, fun profiles and fatty goodness.
- Consider a balance of flavor profiles and textures and then complement with accouterments and other items that will bring out the natural flavors in the meats. Platters should include 3–6 different items to ensure a good balance.
- Don’t be afraid of fat! One of the things that makes charcuterie so appealing is the high-fat content which creates a buttery, creamy texture different from eating a sausage or a pork chop–the fat is natural and isn’t unhealthy.
- When you’re planning a spread for a group of people, you’ll want to stick to these basic principles but also think about who you are serving. If your group is a bit more traditional and inexperienced with cured meats, I suggest incorporating more familiar items like summer sausage or a Lonza, which is similar to a Prosciutto. If your feeding more adventurous foodies, you can incorporate a Terrine Head Cheese or Pâté, both of which will add unique rich flavors to your board.
- When thinking about serving the board, I like to make sure to include plenty of bread and crackers, a good whole grain mustard, and some pickled veggies—the acidity, and saltiness is an excellent complement to the rich flavors and fats in the meats.
Soppressata – Fermented and dried salami seasoned with Carboy Malbec wine, garlic and chili flake
Black Truffle Salami – Fermented and dried salami seasoned with freshly shaved black truffles
Lonza – Dried pork loin seasoned with fennel, peppercorn and juniper
Wagyu Beef Bresaola – Dried eye of round beef seasoned with cloves, juniper and cinnamon
Summer Sausage – Fermented and smoked sausage seasoned with mustard seed, coriander seed, allspice and garlic
Terrine Head Cheese – The richest meat of a pig–its cheeks, ears and tongue–are cooked down to be tender and seasoned with pickled mustard seeds and fresh herbs. The meat is bound together using a natural gelatin to create a unique texture.
Accouterments – Pickled radishes and green beans