Charcuterie boards are having a moment right now and with good reason. They are beautiful, versatile and nothing says “let’s gather” quite like the board.
Smoked Oyster Cheeseball
1 can smoked oysters, drained
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Combine all ingredients except pecans and parsley and roll into a ball. Toss chopped pecans and parsley together and place on a shallow dish. Roll ball in the pecan and parsley mixture.
Note: Add more or less curry to taste but don’t skip it!
Garnish: Looks amazing on a bed of purple kale leaves.
Sweet & Spicy Pecans
8 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2-3 tablespoons apricot jam (no sugar added)
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon powdered ginger
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 pound pecan halves
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. On stovetop, melt butter; add brown sugar, curry powder, powdered ginger, and cayenne. Remove from heat. Toss pecans in butter mixture. Add apricot jam in small drops and mix. Place pecan mixture on a large cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or paper towels. Place in oven and turn off the heat. Leave to dry in oven 10-12 minutes. Lightly salt and serve (store in air tight jar).
Chicken Liver Pate
1/2 pound chicken livers
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs, hard-boiled
2 lemons, juiced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
Sauate liver, onions and dried thyme for 20 minutes. Cool. Place liver mixture and eggs in a blender a little at a time, while blending, drizzle in lemon juice, add salt and pepper, and blend until smooth. Remove and garnish with parsley.
Pimento Cheese (with a kick!)
12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 ounces pimentos, drained
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1-2 dashed hot sauce, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. If a smoother consistency is desired, place ingredients in a food processor and pulse and blend until combined and somewhat whipped. Place in a bowl, cover and chill before serving.
Garnish: Top with some additional grated cheddar, chives and a sprinkle of paprika.
Traditional meat and cheese boards never go out of style but adding a bit of visual and flavor interest can be easy and fun.
If you want to shop more and cook less, select store-bought items that are a bit off the beaten path such as preserved game meats, hard-boiled quail or multi-colored eggs and unusually flavored jams, jellies, and chutneys.
For slightly more effort, select one to four recipes for spreads, dips, or small bites (hot or cold) and arrange in aesthetically pleasing small bowls, plates or simply on a bed with beautiful greens.
Pair Like a Pro
Pairing your board with the wine you are serving does not need to be complex. Here is a simple pairing guide to help you create the perfect pairings.
Light white wines pair well with lighter, fresh flavors. Select light, soft cheeses such as burrata, Chevre, and feta, along with cured meats that are light in flavor and texture, such as prosciutto. Accessorize your board with fresh, sweet bursts of flavor such as melon, figs, and white chocolate.
Bold, full-bodied whites
These whites are fresh yet bold enough to stand up to bigger flavors. Select cheeses that pack a bigger punch such as mozerella, gruyere, and gouda. A salty, briney addition such as tinned fish pairs nicely here. Lastly accessorize your board cured olives, fermented vegetables, and nuts buttery in flavor such as hazelnuts.
Contrast and compliment these reds with earthy, nutty and savory selections. Select cheeses with drier, bold flavors such as parmigianno-regianno, taleggio, and sharp cheddar along with hearty cured meats like salami. Accessorize with dried fruit such as cherries, flavorful nuts like pistachio and milk chocolate.
Hearty, dry Reds
These wines can handle a lot of rich flavors. Select rich buttery cheeses such as manchego and cured meats that pack a punch like mortadella. Accessorize your board with veggies paired with rich dips such as radishes and blue-cheese butter, berries, and dark chocolate.
Lastly, keep it simple. Simple yet elegant combinations of even just two to three well-chosen bites and sips can elevate any snacking board. Try simple yet decadent combinations such as Pinot Noir, taleggio, pistachios and fresh cherries.