How to Make a Charcuterie Board
Nothing says ‘I make an adult salary’ quite like a charcuterie board. If you have the urge to serve high-end meats and cheeses on a chic platter, it’s probably because an algorithm inceptioned the idea into your brain at the behest of Big Cured Meats™. I’m not opposed to you serving charcuterie, but if you’re going to do so, heed the advice of legendary screen actor Jason Statham and do it with style.
First, track down the most overpriced grocery store in your neighborhood. The kind of place that will charge $25 for a block of cheddar because it comes from cows that aren’t clinically depressed (allegedly). Buy that cheddar. Then grab a hard cheese like an Asiago or Manchego (but not Gruyere). When it comes to soft cheeses, you’ll be tempted to buy the Brie. Don’t buy the Brie. Society is full of people who like Brie in theory, but abstain when they remember they have to eat around the rind. Save yourself the heartache and purchase a ricotta or goat cheese.
At this point, you might be thinking, ‘wow, that’s a lot of money to spend on cheese.’ This is a signal things are going well. The key to a good charcuterie board is overspending. If you’re not sure how much you should spend, take your annual pre-tax salary, multiply it by two and spend that amount.
Next, it’s time to marshal some meats. Why? Alliteration. Approach your butcher and perform the secret handshake (twelve pokes in and around his belly button). He’ll invite you behind the deli counter and open a hidden door beneath the meat display case. Climb inside and enter the secret sausage cellar. Legally, you only have 2 minutes to grab as much sausage as you can before the butcher locks the cellar door and forces you to fight for your life in a series of “Saw”-like games. I’d recommend a hot and spicy chorizo or pepperoni.
Once returned, inquire about some thinly sliced ham. Prosciutto or capicola is advisable—especially if you want to hear your one friend do his Tony Soprano ‘gabagool’ impression. It’s a bit played out at this point, but since his fiancee cheated on him it’s the only thing that makes him smile.
Meats and cheeses in hand, the next step is to acquire the ‘accoutrement’ that’ll take your charcuterie board from funeral cocktail hour to hedge fund Christmas party. This means stuffed olives, fig jam, sundried tomatoes, grapes, nuts, dried fruit, fresh rosemary, pickles, candied ginger, raisins, hummus, shaved coconut, hot honey, organic olive oil, grey poupon mustard, mango chutney, and crackers—lots of different kinds of crackers. Maybe some caviar too.
How much? Ok, maybe hold off on the caviar.
Now go home and prepare the charcuterie board. Pull that one platter out of the cabinet that’s always in the way of the kitchenware that gets a lot more usage. Dice up your cheeses until they’re about a half inch by half inch. Then take the fig jam, hot honey, olive oil, mustard, and mango chutney and empty them all into a giant mixing bowl. Stir vigorously.
This next step is important: dip each piece of cheese into the mixing bowl. This ensures nobody can reach for a piece of cheese without getting sauce on their fingers. Now line the bottom of the charcuterie board with crackers. Sprinkle the diced sticky cheeses evenly across the cracker base until evenly coated. Then add another layer of crackers on top. Now dip the meats and garnishes into the mixing bowl and repeat this process. Keep stacking until you run out of ingredients.
Bring your charcuterie board into the living room. Your friends are gonna say things like “Jesus Christ, not again,” “it was only funny the first time,” and “let me take a picture for my Instagram story.”
And that’s it! Despite their protestations, your friends will devour the sticky, cheesy goodness because as a species, humans haven’t evolved to the point to be able to resist charcuterie.
If all goes according to plan, nobody will want dinner because they filled up on your charcuterie. Which is good because you couldn’t afford to buy the ingredients for dinner anyway. In fact, you don’t even cook.