A show-stopping charcuterie platter makes a gorgeous statement for a party and it’s relatively stress free. In other words, it’s not cooking. It’s shopping!
The elements on the charcuterie plate—sliced cured meats, wedges of cheese, some pickles or olives, mustard, toasted nuts, fresh and dried fruit—pair well with something a bit tart and sweet, like this simple dried fig relish made with California Dried Figs.
The “recipe” for the charcuterie platter here is just a guideline. You can concentrate on a particular region and choose meats and cheeses from France, Italy or Spain for example, or you can be guided by what appeals to you that is available in the market. For the meats, allow 2 ounces per person for an appetizer platter, up to 5 ounces if the platter is for a meal. Choices range from pre-sliced meats such as prosciutto or Spanish ham (Serrano or Iberico), Italian dry cured beef (bresaola ), German speck and mortadella. Hard salamis such as sopressata, smoked kielbasa and capicola are also good candidates.
Offer three types of cheeses—something soft and pungent like a soft blue Castello, a triple crème Tur or Brillat-Savarin, or Brie; something firm like an aged Parmigiano; and something in between, like a Gouda or Spanish manchego. Once again, be guided by your taste and what is available, or focus on a particular region or country.
Wash all of it down with a chilled rose or sparkling Lambrusco. It’s officially summer; the living should be easy!
Charcuterie Plate with Dried Fig Relish
Dried Fig Relish
- 1 cup diced Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Dried Figs
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped green olives
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds
- 1 stalk celery, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons snipped mint leaves
- 1 1/2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Platter
- Dried Fig Relish
- 12 ounces sliced, cured meat
- 3 wedges of cheese
- 1/2 cup toasted whole almonds
- Small pot of mustard
- 1/2 pound red or purple grapes
- 1 cup blackberries
- 1/2 cup olives
- 1/2 cup cornichons
- Toasted baguette slices
In a bowl, stir together the figs, olives, almonds, celery, and mint leaves.
Stir in the vinegar and oil and taste. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to a small serving bowl.
Arrange the dried fig relish, meat, cheese, almonds, mustard, grapes, berries, olives and cornichons on a platter. Serve with baguette and crackers
Recipe and photo by Sally Pasley Vargas