A Charcuterie board is a selection of meats and cheeses along with assorted ingredients that complement the flavors and textures of each other. They have to be one of the easiest and tastiest appetizers to serve your guests.
Don’t you just love boards filled with all kinds bite-sized foods that you can mix and match while sipping on a glass of wine? I know I could help empty one of these trays for dinner along with a big salad and a few slices of baguette and be completely happy. Who doesn’t love appetizers for dinner?
How to build a healthy charcuterie board
These boards may look complicated to assemble, but it’s actually quite easy since there are no set rules. The key is to have an assortment of textures and flavors and the rest is up to you. So grab a board, it can be wood, slate, marble or even a ceramic plate will do. Here are a few tips to get your creativity going:
- Meats and cheeses. Select a variety of meats and cheeses with an assortment of flavors. Think salty, smoky and spicy for meat. Cheeses should have a variety of flavor (mild, medium and bold). Healthy Tip: Choose uncured meats or meats and cheeses that have been processed by local artisans or a small family business for better flavor and less artificial ingredients.
- Chilled seasonal vegetables. Radishes, baby turnips, cherry tomatoes, celery, carrots, roasted peppers, work well. Healthy Tip: Most charcuterie trays don’t have many fresh vegetables. Fresh vegetables make a nice contrast with all of the salty and tangy going on.
- Fresh seasonal and dried fruit. The sweetness will balance out the saltiness in the meats and cheese. In the fall/winter figs, pears, grapes, and apples work well. In the spring/summer fresh berries, cherries and peaches are a good choice. Healthy Tip: Dried fruit contains more sugar than fresh, so load up on the fresh fruit.
- Pickled or brined foods. This will add a little bit of tanginess to the mix. Try adding olives, pickles, pickled jalapenos, marinated artichokes or pickled vegetables.
- Spreads. Hummus, fruit spreads, gourmet mustard, bean dips or pate like this mushroom pate.
- Nuts. Add a bit of crunch with an assortment of nuts. Healthy Tip: Choose nuts that are not roasted to control the extra salt and fat. Shelled nuts are a fun addition.
- Bread and crackers. Any kind will do, my recommendation is a whole wheat baguette and some plain and simple crackers.
- And last but not least, A bottle of wine. Some people prefer white wine with their appetizers, but a light red such as a light red such as a red blend or pinot noir will work too.
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