Choosing The Perfect Charcuterie
Charcuterie is a traditional French term meaning “grilled meat”. It may have developed out of the early French period when people would roast meats over an open fire, much like how it is done in Spain today. Over time, the word charcuterie developed to mean the preparation of grilled or broiled meat or other form of cooked meat, typically for consumption on a spit grill. In recent times, charcuterie has come to refer to the entire process, from grilling the meat to preparing it for consumption. Charcuterie has also come to refer to the entire method of preparing and cooking the meat.
There are several types of charcuterie, with the most common being those that involve dry curing the meat prior to preparation and smoking it. In these cases, no other methods are involved other than the direct application of the flavoring or spices, although different methods may be used depending on the individual style of meat. Most common spices used for charcuterie include pepper, sage, thyme, savory, bay leaves, black pepper, salt, oregano, lemon juice, Rosemary, thyme, basil, marjoram and various herbs. These spices are often used together in what are known as “rotisettes” which are circular discs of spices laid on a plate, lit burner or oven. These rosettes are then rotated over a low temperature of 360 degrees to cook the meat evenly and completely.
One of the more popular types of charcuterie is the charcuterie platter. A charcuterie platter is much like the traditional picnic table centerpiece, in that it provides your guests with a nice view of the food, while also serving some basic food hygiene requirements. These platters usually contain cutlets of the highest quality, along with several other meats, cheeses and other ingredients. Along with being a nice addition to your picnic table, a charcuterie platter can serve as an appetizer, dessert, main course or even as part of a meal.
The perfect charcuterie board will provide not only your guests with a nice view of the food, but will also serve as a nice place to display your collection of fine meats. A good charcuterie board will include a variety of cured, smoked, pickled and smoked meats, cheeses and other items. It will also serve as a great place to store your favorite dried fruits and mixers. Other things to consider include some basic tools such as spatulas, knives, tongs and toothpicks.
Cheese – As any connoisseur will tell you, cheese is the essence of any charcuterie event. Therefore it’s important that you have plenty of cheese on hand. When picking out your cheese you should think about the type of flavor you want to add to your meats. For example, while salted, Smoked and Swiss make for excellent charcuterie, don’t forget about blue cheese that goes great with smoked meats. Blue cheese is often used for salad and paired well with fruity cheese; try pairing cheddar with salmon.
Other ingredients to consider are any herbs, spices or cheeses you would like to include. These can be cured meats such as prosciutto, salami, flatbreads, crisps, shish kabobs and other items. Seasonings can range from a simple pepper or sage to a wide selection of herbs including Rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil and others. And finally don’t forget your dry-cured meat. Charcuterie can be an interesting experience for the entire family if you plan ahead and shop around.