Ellen Britt - A Teenage Foodie who Explores Dinner, Dessert and Salad Ideas
Charcuterie (pronounced [shar-koo-tuh–ree] means cured meat and the origin of this delectable meal comes from France of course. The word when roughly translated means “pork butcher”, but don’t be fooled - pork is definitely not the only type of meat served on the charcuterie board.
This super impressive meal makes having friends over easy. Your board will be piled high with all kinds of meats, cheeses, fruits and pickled wonders. Get creative with your charcutier board designs. Each time you make this appetizer or dinner in my case it becomes a work of art. There is no limit to what you can do. Even adding sprigs of thyme and other herbs from your garden enhances the overall creation. Best of all you can take advantage of the in-season fruits and vegetables and even add some homemade preserves.
I like to consider my charcutier board to be a canvas. I try to choose different colours and textures. Fruits like strawberries, grapes and cherry tomatoes add that pop of color. The meats, cheeses, and even nuts and dried fruit add texture to your plate. Whatever you decide your presentation is sure to wow your guests!
This is an easy and versatile appetizer or meal. It is fun to make and even better to eat!
For this Charcuterie Board I used a lot of items already available in our fridge. You would be amazed at what you can create with items on hand.
Now is your chance to try different meats and cheeses. I aways like to include some fruit as well. It adds a pop of color not to mention taste.
Keep your ingredients fresh and seasonal.
Sometimes it's nice to make a Charcuterie Board for one!
So now for a bit of background on the Charcuterie Board. As I am taking Food Science in school I thought it would be fun to do a bit of research into the history of some foods and recipes.
The Charcuterie Board was originally introduced in the 15th Century however the practice of salting and smoking meats has been around for at least 6000 years with excavated records found in ancient Rome referencing their culinary tastes. The meat on the Charcuterie Board was preserved often in the form of different types of sausage meats. Back in the 15th Century they did not have refrigeration, so the preservation of meat was very important. To make the sausage for the Charcuterie Board ground meat along with salt was placed into a tube made from intestines. Stomach bladders were also used to shape the cured meats. Sounds super appetizing!!
Not having had any idea about cured meats I was blissfully eating them with wild abandon. As they are so good my newly formed knowledge of cured meat preparation will not deter me from shopping at the deli counter. So I continue with more on the cured meats as they are delicious although not all that nutritious. For those on a low sodium diet it is important to know that salt is the main ingredient for preservation as it is absorbed into the cells which helps to destroy any harmful pathogens. Water is also removed from the cells through dehydration which further extends the life of the cured meat. Because of the strong flavour of the salt, sugar is often added to preserve colour and help with fermentation. It’s all very sciency and I don’t pretend to understand the process.
Today we serve a variety of meats and cheeses on the Charcuterie board along with pickles, olives and fresh fruits of all kinds. I like to also include natural honeycomb on the side to give a bit of extra sweetness.
The types of cheese common on a charcuterie board are Parmigiano-Reggiano or gruyere as well as camembert, brie but don’t limit yourself. I even include the more common cheeses such a mozzarella and cheddar even though they are not as fancy. Guessing I am not a very fancy type of girl. As for the meats Salami, prosciutto, ham, capicola and even pâtés, are among some of the most often used. You really can’t go wrong.
Gotta love the history of food!
Can't recommend enough using a piece of delectable honeycomb on the side of your Charcuterie Board. The honeycomb featured on the Charcuterie Board in the photos above is the same honeycomb as in the photo to the left. After coming home from the Honey Centre I helped to photograph the honeycomb next to our kitchen window. Gotta love natural light.
I had fun going to the Honeybee Centre with my mom and of course we had to try some different types of honey as well as the honeycomb. It was super expensive but well worth the price. Plus honey never goes bad so you don't have to eat it all in one sitting.
Concluding the musings of a teen chef and lover of food and cooking.
Ellen Britt at ellencooks.ca
There's much to see here. So, take your time, look around, and learn all there is to know about my recipes and thoughts on food. I hope you enjoy our site at Ellen Cooks.
By Ellen Britt