So, what is a Charcuterie Board you ask? Some Southerners refer to it as a Bougie Board… either way, its really just a beautiful way to offer appetizers before your main meal. It can even serve as a main course if you so choose…
I just call it yummy!
The beauty of building a bougie Charcuterie board is this… if you follow a few simple rules, you can customize it to your taste buds. While a Charcuterie board sounds complicated and fancy, its just a French term meaning “meat”. I built my version with some classic meats, and a few Southern staples…
First things first…
So, first things first–grab your favorite wooden cutting board or tray and choose a couple, or three, meats that you would enjoy. For this board, I chose the classic trio of Italian dry salami, capicola and prosciutto. My local @publix has this trio prepackaged in the deli section of my store. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and go more casual by using black forest ham, turkey or even lil’smokies–just think “bite-size” pieces.
Next, choose the cheese…
What goes better with meat than cheese?? For my board I chose a Southern favorite, and staple, Pimento Cheese! I grew up eating my grandmother’s recipe for pimento cheese, it was very good but it wasn’t THIS pimento cheese. I have a dear friend who shared this recipe with me-she will probably read this post- (THANK YOU MAXIE!). I tweeked it only slightly because my family and I enjoy a little more “kick” to our PC, but I’m going to share it with you…I will put it at the end…it’s SO good, and versatile. May I rabbit trail for a moment??? Use this pimento cheese on grilled burgers instead of sliced cheese…sigh! Spread it on toast, and feel free to use it as filling for a grilled cheese sandwich. My family enjoys it served with crackers and sliced jalapenos as a single appetizer for football or holiday gatherings. Anything goes!!
Ok, back to building the board… I also shaved some aged Parmesan cheese using a wedge of cheese and a vegetable peeler… Feel free to choose from your favorite soft and hard cheeses, just make sure you have some textural contrast and complimentary flavors.
Next, we need some crackers…
To compliment the meat and cheese, your board needs crackers or bread. I chose my favorite pretzel flips to serve with the pimento cheese, some seedy flax crackers and some basic black pepper water crackers. You could use your favorite wheat crackers, sliced baguette or French bread torn into bite-sized pieces.
Sweeten things up…
To lighten and freshen your board, include some seasonal fresh fruit. Being that it is Fall, I chose to ball some cantaloupe and place it on a wooden toothpick with a juicy blackberry (elongated) to resemble an acorn. I also thinly sliced a fresh pear and tucked the slices around the board. Grape tomatoes on toothpicks added color, as did dried apricots. You could easily use fresh apples or seedless grapes. It’s not uncommon to see honey or sauces like spicy, whole grain mustard added to a board in a small container or dish.
Balance the sweet with some sour/salty…
The last edible additions to my board came in the form of another Southern staple…Pickled Okra- I used the “Hot” variety because we enjoy the “kick”, and garlic stuffed olives. Other suggestions could be– sliced jalapenos, marinated pickled veggies, various gourmet olives, sun dried tomatoes or roasted red peppers.
To finish off my Southern Charcuterie board, I tucked in some fresh arugala, but you could use fresh herbs…even some grape or a hydrangea leaves- depending on the season.
I hope that I have inspired you to grab a wooden cutting board and play with your own bite-sized creations. Just like setting an Alfresco table, its all about the fellowship, so don’t stress…
Be sure to try my recipe below for Pimento Cheese… you won’t be sorry! Leave me a comment and let me know how you like it!
Coming up next time…
Next time we will continue with our Fall themed Afresco gathering and I will share some ideas for seasonal beverages…with spirits and without. If you haven’t already done it, make sure you subscribe to my Blog and follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook, so you won’t miss anything!
If you missed my last post: Let’s Set A Fall Alfresco Table… click here.
Amazing Southern Pimento Cheese
- 2 Cups Grated, Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 1 8 oz Pkg Cream Cheese, softened
- 1/2 Cup Whole Mayonnaise
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1/2 tsp Cayenne Red Pepper
- 1 4 oz Jar Diced Pimentos, drained
- 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Lawry's Seasoned Pepper
- Sliced Pickled Jalapeno Peppers, served alongside
- Using an electric or hand held mixer, mix everything together until thoroughly combined. Taste to adjust salt and black pepper.Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to one week.Serve with your favorite crackers. I use pretzel flip or poppy seed style and sliced pickled jalapenos.
“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent, or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8”