So, you’re either ready to give charcuterie a try, experiment with a new selection of meats, or determined to please a rather particular crowd (of one or of many).
However self-assured you may feel, a few clicks into the wonderful World Wide Web, or even a couple steps into the seemingly endless isles of product at the grocery store, are prone to send even the most confident charcuterie novice into a puzzling frenzy of information and intimidation--especially when it comes to craft meats and cheeses.
We’re here for you, friend. No matter where you’re at on the charcuterie spectrum, you’re going to want a dependable list of friendly, versatile meats on hand that are a surefire way to satisfy the senses of even the most picky palettes. Keep reading for our no-fail lineup of four meats that are accessible and guaranteed to please.
Stack Up The Soppressata
Spicy soppressata is coming in hot as the new pepperoni.
Soppressata is one of the most well-known types of Italian dry salami. Though the ingredients, flavor, and even the texture of soppressata can vary based on the region in which it was made, red peppers are a common ingredient, so it tends to be a bit on the spicy side.
Some pizzaioli claim that pepperoni was an inexpensive replacement for soppressata and are taking it back to their roots. Comparatively speaking, soppressata isn’t quite as dry as pepperoni and has an abundance of flavor and texture over its (dare we say) inferior counterpart. It’s the perfect salami to slice down and pair with a piece of bread and cheese.
Not only will it satisfy—soppressata will exude authenticity over pepperoni. This meat will give your guests something they love, along with introducing them to a bite of the “real” Italy.
Give ‘Em The Genoa Salami
Genoa Salami is an easy pleaser. It differs from hard salami, which is usually made from smoked beef and has a dry, stiff texture.
On the contrary, Genoa Salami is made with ground pork or veal mixed with white wine, garlic, salt, and whole white peppercorns. It expresses a tangy, fermented flavor that pairs well with mild, creamy cheese.
Not only is it moist and delicious, but it’s also easy to find in most grocery stores, either sliced and prepackaged or vacuum sealed as a whole log.
Pamper Them With Prosciutto
Prosciutto deserves a spot on every charcuterie board. This cured ham comes from the thigh or leg of a pig and is marbled with streaks of beautiful, flavorful white fat. It is typically sliced paper thin (almost transparent) and melts in your mouth.
Prosciutto has become rather easy to find in most delis, and if you’re looking for an even simpler route, most grocery stores carry prosciutto pre-sliced and packaged. So grab yourself some of this delicately sweet Italian specialty, roll the slices up like cigars, and watch as each bite lures your guests in for more.
Marvel Them With Mortadella
Are you ready to slice and dice your former understanding of what you always believed to be bologna?
Mortadella isn’t your typical, American bologna. This is the original version of bologna from Bologna, Italy that has a smooth, creamy texture and hammy flavor. It is a large, round sausage studded with pork fat and pistachio pieces.
Whether you slice the mortadella or cut it into cubes, it will boast yet another flavor and texture on your board and will pair well with a nice cheddar cheese. No baloney, we think it’s going to be a big hit.
You Are The Master Of The Meat
Remember, any crowd-pleasing board will work hard to balance flavor and texture, but there’s no recipe for a charcuterie board.
As you experiment, we think you’ll agree that these four meats will compliment each other on the platter, and paired with some high-quality cheese, even your choosier guests just may find out that they’re not so unsure about charcuterie after all.
Now that you have a few solid ideas for meat options, let’s cut to the cheese. Choosing your cheese selection is just as important as choosing your meats, but can be just as intimidating. So before you head to the store, get that pen and paper ready to add to your grocery list again, and jump over to our next article on 4 Cheeses You Need On Your Next Charcuterie Board.
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