Charcuterie. We have all seen this on the menu at a fancy restaurant or tavern and we have wondered what exactly is going on. It is named for the meats that are presented and they are usually either dry cured, smoked or occasionally cooked meats served along side an assortment of pickled things, cheese and some crackers or a tiny bread thing. I am a huge fan of all things pickled and have never met a dried meat that I didn’t like!
The point of talking about Char is that the boys had a movie night in class and I didn’t want to just send popcorn because there are better things to snack on besides popcorn and I enjoy the classmates being jealous. And who wouldn’t want to snack on fancy things while watching the original version of Death of a Salesman??
In my area we have a little store called Aldi and it is my go to place for special meats and cheeses so when I got the movie night notice I headed straight there. Aldi doesn’t carry name brands, their store brand is amazing, they get some of the coolest stuff ever, my location carries wine that is also not name brand but the white kind that I cook with is 3.99 and the carts work on this pay to use/refund on return system that allows you to not return your cart to the system and leave it out for someone to use for free, a pay it forward kind of deal.
I got super duper lucky on this trip to my little German market as I was able to find genuine Iberico ham among their assortment of dried meats for less than my entire budget!! Are you kidding me?? 5 dollars for 2 ounces. Google will offer you 2 ounces for 40 dollars, yes I have checked, yes I have considered not having fresh veggies for a week so we could get some. Yes, you are trying to figure out why I am so excited about such a small amount of meat but a package of prosciutto is also only 2 ounces and that is enough for 2 meals worth of fancy things. Along with the ham I scored a trio package of hard salami, peppered capicola and spicy Soppressata, a package of thicker sliced mini pepperoni, a dill havarti cheese, an Irish cheddar, bleu cheese and feta stuffed olives and some tiny herbed crackers. Already in the cupboard was a sharp provolone, a jar of regular martini olives and some spicy small green olives, tiny sweet pickles, pickled beets, kalamata olives and prosciutto.
So let’s cover the spread. For the meats, the most important according to the name, we had Iberico ham, hard salami, capicola, soppressata and pepperoni. For the pickled bits blue cheese filled olives, feta filled olives, regular martini olives, kalamata olives, sweet pickles and pickles beets. For the cheese, dilled havarti, Irish cheddar, sharp provolone and American white cheddar. For the cracker bits I had found that package of Celery and Vegetable flavored crackers and I had a sleeve of saltine crackers.
I also caved and sent popcorn, I didn’t intend for my boys to eat any since they had fancy stuff but I was thinking of the jealous other boys and didn’t want them to be totally left out!
In closing, a Charcuterie board is so named for the meats that are presented along side of the cheeses and pickled things, well, mostly for the meats but all of the tasty things on the side shouldn’t be considered less than! Lots of chefs put in effort and time to find just the right bits that will highlight the meats yet be tasty in their own right and some even create their own pickled masterpieces like cauliflower or radishes. I could go on for days about my pickle addiction but this isn’t about me, it’s about the food so I will stop!
Thanks ya’ll!! Happy cooking!