Everyone needs to have a recipe in their back pocket that is elegant and beautiful when entertaining. In my case, I prefer something like this charcuterie plate. It’s not really a “recipe”, in the strictest sense of the word, but I don’t really enjoy constraints in case you haven’t noticed. So allow me to share my guide to building this gorgeous platter. It features my homemade pimento cheese as well as the ricotta crostini I shared this week.
There are times when I enjoy making something visually beautiful to eat, it stimulates my creative side and brings me happiness in a way that simply filling my belly cannot. I try and make my charcuterie platter with plenty of bright, beautiful veggies and serve some seed or whole grain crackers instead of only white. I find the options are endless and the flavor combinations much more interesting to my taste buds when I add fresh elements to a charcuterie plate. I love the bright colors of cucumbers, tomatoes and cherries and sprigs of herbs; all fantastic options for the conscientious eater. My guests love it because it looks and tastes amazing and I can rest easy and enjoy myself knowing that I have many wholesome options before me. Sometimes the extra effort it takes to make something beautiful is just as enjoyable as actually eating the food. You are in charge of what you put in your body and can have fun entertaining without getting off track!
Below are the different ingredients. Be creative with whatever substitutes you like! This is just a guide for inspiration.
- Pimento cheese. I like to serve this in its own bowl in the middle of the platter, much easier for dipping and it looks incredible surrounded by all the other elements. Recipe here.
2. Ricotta Crostini. I like to serve the Ricotta with lemon zest on top and raw honey on the side, I allow my guest to decide what kind of cracker or baguette they want to use to build their own crostinis. Ricotta is also delicious with fruit dipped in. I don’t usually put this on the bigger charcuterie platter since I think its better on its own. (recipe for ricotta here)
3. Gorgonzola and Manchego cheese, Marcona Almonds. This platter is for a big crowd, so I typically add two other types of cheese, it can be anything you like honestly! The almonds are a yummy non-dairy option as well. I shop for my cheese at the farmers market, Whole Foods and Trader Joes.
4. Sopressata Salami, Summer sausage, and Prosciutto di Parma. Above is the Sopressata Salami and below the Proscuitto and summer sausage. I like to buy organic and nitrate free of all these cured meats, I can find them at Trader Joes, Whole Foods and Wegmans. Once again, a good filling option if you need to limit dairy. These meats are salty, so all the more reason to put some veggies on the platter to go along with them.
5. Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Rainier cherries, truffle mustard, sprigs of parsley and thyme. After I have the cheese and meat I fill in with the fruits and veggies and any other little dips I want to put out. You can use anything you want to really! I love this truffle mustard from Trader Joes and the parsely and thyme add freshness to the cheeses and also just look pretty.
Thanks for letting me share this little guide to building a charcuterie plate. You’ll notice, none of this requires much actual cooking, its simple assembly. I love how the fresh fruits and veggies add color and really make it look delighful. I hope you have fun making this and are inspired to be creative when entertaining.