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A holiday charcuterie board can be simple or showy

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A charcuterie platter is easy to assemble for a party with cured meats, cheeses, pickles and a homemade sweet mustard spread.

Restaurants have made the charcuterie board a diner’s favorite, with many becoming destinations based on their ability to obtain great meats and cheeses.

With a little planning you can do this same thing. You don’t even need to go to a fancy store for the provisions. Most grocery stores have everything you need.

A charcuterie board is easy, elegant and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser that can elevate your holiday buffet.

When shopping for a party, plan on 3 ounces of charcuterie per person for an appetizer and about twice that if it’s the only food being served. Along with bread and olives, pickles and nuts, that should be enough to satiate all of your meat-loving guests.

Your charcuterie board can be as simple as one type of dried sausage, olives, nuts and a special mustard dipping sauce, or make it a little more expansive by adding some higher-end items from the list at right.

Next, think about presentation. That’s one of the reasons charcuterie boards are so appealing in restaurants. They are generally laid out on wooden or other flat surfaces. I love using black porcelain as I can write with chalk on it and pop it in the dishwasher when I am done.

Sweet and Sharp Mustard for Cured Meats

  • 1/4 cup whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apricot jam
  • 2 teaspoons smooth Dijon mustard
  • Pinch Coleman’s dry mustard
  • Pinch dried parsley or other dried herb

Mix jam and mustards together until combined but still chunky. Add dried herbs and mix until combined. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 5 days.

Variations: Raspberry jam and mint, fig jam and dehydrated shallots, red currant jelly and red pepper flakes, blackberry jam and tarragon

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Build Your Own Charcuterie Board

  • Mix and match from this list. Slice meats while cold, serve at room temperature:
  • Dry salami such as Bende Hungarian Sausage or soppressatta (Italian dry salami)
  • Ham, prosciutto (Italian ham) or iberico (Spanish ham)
  • Pate
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, broken into small chunks
  • Cornichon pickles, olives
  • Marcona almonds, pistachios
  • Good bread, seeded crackers
  • Ricotta cheese topped with honey or herbs and olive oil

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