Friday, December 05, 2008

Anatomy of a charcuterie plate

On Friday night I put together this tasty plate of charcuterie items for Michelle and I, to keep us occupied as we waited for my three-hour chicken to cook (low and slow!) and some potatoes to roast. You can't really go wrong with a charcuterie plate (see, for example, the delicious tiny morsels c5 gave me here). If you pick out an assortment of meats and a couple of other foods to balance them, pile them all on a substrate of some kind (we used Carr's table water crackers) and swill a little alcohol alongside (we opted for Michelle's all-time favourite, cider), then you're set.

From the far left, and continuing around the plate in a sort of meandering way which I hope will be easy enough to pick up:

A duck and fig paté
A blue cheese flavoured with blackberry port from the Okanagan
A few slices of coppa, a Neopolitan salume (cold cut) of pork shoulder (also called capicola) – look at that marbling!
Three delicious figs
Some finocchiona, a Tuscan salume of finely-ground pork and fat mixed with fennel – so tasty!
The largest slices were saucisson secs, a French dry-cured sausage that Michelle, Ben and I tried this summer as part of a nighttime pique-nique upon the Champ de mars in Paris – the Eiffel Tower was covered in massive blue stars to commemorate France's temporary stewardship of the EU, and was absolutely gorgeous!

And finally, some spicy Hungarian kolbász (sausage), which was my favourite. I can't quite say why, but the spiciness was perfect, and I could have eaten far more than those meagre slices you see there. Ah well! It was a fantastic charcuterie assortment, and quite enough for two, as you can probably tell.

An addendum to our charcuterie revel is that the next morning in the Globe & Mail's Style section, the food columnist Lucy Waverman listed 'fine charcuterie' as one of her Christmas desirables and called it a 'hot trend in home entertaining right now'! Ah, Lucy, how right you are!


Meg said...

Yumm Laura – this post made me jealous. I want to swill and prove Lucy right too!

Everything looks so beautiful on that platter... Did you get the meats at Oyama? That place is heaven. You made some really good picks - I love capicola too, and pork with fennel mmm.

moyrad said...

Mmmm, this was delicious! I love the finnochiona - it has a lovely smell and taste. Cheeses and cured meats and fruits are the perfect appetizer, or whole meal. I want to say I could eat these for every meal but I wouldn't want to miss out on all the other delicious foods out there (except cooked fruit of course!).

Everytime I eat a delicious cheese or cured meat, i wonder how anyone can eat the horrible processed deli meat.

The writer Milton once read all the published books available (not sure how many that was). Could one try all the cured meats and cheeses in existance? Has anyone tried? hmmm things to think about.