For the perfect appetizer to feed a crowd, make your own charcuterie plate

Home for the Holidays

(Mass Appeal) – Charcuterie plates and grazing tables are trendy right now, and there’s a good reason! They look impressive but they’re an easy way to entertain a crowd. Jessie-Sierra Ross from “Straight to the Hips, Baby” blog joins us with some inspiration on trying it at home. She also shares a recipe for a quick cherry jam.

INGREDIENTS:

For the Charcuterie Plate/Board

We want to create a mix and match of flavors, textures and color! Provide equal amounts of the following represented on the charcuterie plate;

A variety of cheeses such as brie, slices of aged cheddar, Manchego, & Stilton. Ask your cheese monger for at least 3 cheeses.

A variety of cured or smoked proteins such as thinly sliced prosciutto, Jambon de Bayonne, bresaola, or hard salami. Pâté, rillettes, or even smoked salmon make beautiful savory additions to your board. 2-3 meats is ideal.

Fresh and dried fruit like strawberries, blackberries, grapes, pears dried figs, dried apricots, medjool dates and dried pears create a lovely sweet/tart balance to your plate.

Add whole grain mustard, fig jam, or homemade cherry jam in small bowls along with small knives for spreading. Pickled cornichons or briny olives are a great pick too. These foods add much needed acid to help balance out the richness of the cheeses and meats.

Provide a separate plate, or if your board is large enough, include slices of crusty bread and whole grain crackers. A dish of soft butter or extra virgin olive oil, is also a delicious addition.

DIRECTIONS:

Reserve your large plate or board and begin arranging the cheeses first, leaving plenty of space between them. Next, add any small bowls of pickled veggies or condiments to the platter. Begin to fill in the empty spaces with meats, fruits, dried fruits and crackers. Be playful! There isn’t a “wrong” way to create a charcuterie plate!

For the Quick Cherry Jam

INGREDIENTS:

12 oz package of frozen pitted cherries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon cherry brandy or kirsch (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all of the ingredients into a medium sized saucepan and place over high heat. Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a boil. The cherries should be soft and the sugar has completely dissolved. Using a potato masher, gently squash the cherries to break them up a bit. Lower the heat to medium high and continue to let simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until thick and jammy. Remove from the heat and let cool. Store in a tightly covered jar or container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

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