Williams-Sonoma collaborated with Chef Chris Cosentino on his new cookbook, Beginnings, which features more than 60 recipes for Italian-style first courses, organized by season. Here, the chef/founder of Incanto, Boccalone and Pigg shares an excerpt from the book, explaining how to create the perfect meat platter for entertaining.
Setting out a meat platter is my favorite way to start a meal. Here’s a primer on how to do it.
A great salumi platter relies on having a nice balance of cooked and cured meats to provide different textures and flavors for your guests. As a general guideline, choose a selection of 3 to 5 meats, and at least 1 1/2 ounces total per person.
If you have a deli-style meat slicer at home, it’s best to slice each salume just before serving so that it doesn’t oxidize. Otherwise, ask your local specialty food store or deli to slice the meat thinly and wrap it tightly. Plan to serve the salumi within 2 days of slicing.
You don’t need to worry about making your meat platter look fancy. Just lay the items on a platter or board in a way that looks nice to you and makes it easy for your guests to access them. Put out small forks or spreaders as desired for serving. Be sure to let the meat come to room temperature before serving so the flavors shine through.
I like to serve some vegetables with the salumi, which help round out the flavors and cut the richness of the meats. Look for recipes for roasted garlic, pickled onions and carrots, balsamic-roasted cipollini and more in Beginnings.
Photo Credit: Michael Harlan Turkell
Click to buy Chris Cosentino’s cookbook, Beginnings.