We had some good friends come over the other night to watch *cough* The Bachelorette *cough*. Wait a second, I shouldn’t be ashamed of watching The Bachelorette! I work hard for my free time and should be able to do with it whatever I please. I read a few pages from the Dictionary afterwards to regain any brain cell loss. See, I know what I’m doing. Now to the reason we are all here: food! Whenever I entertain, I like to have something to snack on for me and my guests. I’ll be honest, when I don’t have much time to prepare, sometimes I will serve an already open bottle of wine and the nuts from the pantry. But when I do have some sort of notice, I always turn to a charcuterie board with cheese. There are tons of different meats out there to serve: soppresata, prosciutto, pepperoni, cappicola, etc. You could even go fancy with a confit or terrine. Depending on the size of the crowd, I like to pick 2 meats and 3 cheeses. Some grocery stores sell different flavors of soppresata like maple rosemary or chipotle. It’s fun to play with flavors but always know what they taste like before you buy 5 for a large party. Peppered salami is my favorite; it goes well with the saltiness of any cheese and is usually found in most grocery stores. Prosciutto and melon is another great crowd pleaser; a sweet and salty Italian classic.
Now to the cheese, my favorite! Ina Garten once said that whenever you are serving cheese, try to aim for a soft cheese like goat or a brie, a hard cheese like Parmesan or cheddar, and a blue, like Stilton or Gorgonzola. I, too, will follow this guideline for the most part; especially if I’m serving toast or crackers. When I’m trying to avoid the carbs, I like to pick cheese I can easily eat by itself so I go for hard cheeses. Choose a sharp cheddar, a specialty (I went with my Trader Joe’s favorite, cheddar with caramelized onion), then a European cheese like Gruyere or Manchego.
This spread was a delight to eat, satisfying a need for a salty and sweet snack. Charcuterie boards are the easiest appetizers and sometimes, the most delicious. Also, wine can make this snack a complete meal! Happy snacking this weekend!