Small bites and appetizer boards are one of my favorite things to start a gathering with.
Put a glass of wine in someone’s hand and finger food in front of them and it’s game over. Strictly speaking, Charcuterie refers to the art of cured meats and this pepper encrusted salami had a punch of spice that brought this board together.
But what has me hooked about charcuterie is the endless combinations that are possible. I like trying something new every time, like the tapenade recipe at the end of this post. Sprouts’ new line of olive oil provides the perfect twist on a small bite occasion; each one has it’s unique flavor and perfect pairing.
Olive Oil Pairings
Intense & Fruity
Bread Dipping with sweet balsamic reduction
Mixed with ricotta, & basil for spreading
Fruity + Creamy
Incorporated into Tapenade
Full Bodied & Spicy
Drizzled on heirloom tomato slices
Follow these three rules when putting together your own charcuterie board:
This by far is rule number one. You want to have a wide variety of flavors, colors and textures on your board. If there is something crunchy on your plate (nuts, crackers, veggies) fill out the rest of the board with some soft items (prosciutto, soft cheese, jams, hummus). If you have a salty or briny item (olives, salami, parmesan) have milder options as well (brie, carrots, grapes). If your board consists of mostly yellow or orange (crackers, carrots, cheddar) add in a pop of green (bell peppers, cucumbers, or a light arugula salad).
People are always tentative to take the first slice of pie, and the last. With this in mind, make your board look approachable and make sure there is plenty of everything. Slice hard cheeses, meat and breads so they are easy to grab and put crackers and other items in multiple spots people aren’t reaching over each other to get a little bit everything.
Incorporate a wide array of flavors. Sweet, salty, briny, spicy, are all great places to start. In this spread, chocolate covered cashews provide a bit of sweet and crackers and whole olives give a much needed crunch. The salami is encrusted with spicy pepper, and the heat pairs wonderfully with a mild and buttery fontina cheese. A lightly seasoned cracker, and soft rosemary bread go with any accoutrement and the tapenade spread (recipe below) provided a kick of brine. My ricotta mixture incorporated a light and clean flavor and was perfect for topping on the heirloom tomatoes, which also provided a wonderful pop of color.
This is everything I love in an olive spread. Bold olive flavor with brine and a hint of lemon and fresh herbs.
1/5c kalamata & green olives
juice from ½ lemon
1t lemon zest
4T arbequena Olive Oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼t crushed red pepper
pinch of salt + pepper
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse just until mixture has achieved a fine texture. Be sure not to pulse until it turns into a pulp.
- Serve, topped with fresh parsley.