A charcuterie platter is the ultimate solution for easy entertaining. Just pick and choose a selection of cured meats, add cheese, pickles, crostini and other accompaniments, and let everyone help themselves.
The concept is simple, but finding the perfect combination can be a challenge. We asked Taylor Boetticher, one-half of the team behind The Fatted Calf charcuterie, to share his tips for building the perfect board — read on, and get inspired!
Stay focused. Taylor advises serving no more than five different meats on a single platter so as not to overwhelm palates.
Vary flavors and textures. Choose charcuterie products made with a range of methods and seasonings for variety. On the platter he made for us, Taylor served four meats:
- A firm terrine made with pork, porcini mushrooms and bacon
- Sopressata, a dry-cured salame with flavors of anise, garlic and red wine
- Lomo, a cured pork loin (a whole muscle, as opposed to ground meat) with smoked paprika
- Duck rillette, duck cooked in its own fat with thyme, cognac and quatre-epices and shredded finely
Similarly, Taylor recommends offering meats from different parts of the world to showcase distinct styles. The terrine is California-inspired, while the lomo has a Spanish flavor profile, the sopressata is Italian, and the rillette is traditional French.
Mind the presentation. Taylor always serves sliced meats in odd numbers, which look better on a board. “Don’t stack them too high, and give each one plenty of space so people can identify them,” he says. To serve the soft rillete, he used two spoons to shape it into a quenelle, or a small oval shape.
Balance with accompaniments. Taylor serves his charcuterie with pickled vegetables (here, beets and dilly beans) and bright, buttery Castelvetrano olives. “You want the brightness of the accompaniments to counteract the fat and salt from the charcuterie,” he explains. He clumps them together in odd numbers on the platter. If you do pair the meats with cheese, Taylor suggests milder — “not too funky” — styles, such as ricotta salata, pecorino or goat cheese.