For a classic party dish that’s popular at today’s gatherings, choose charcuterie- a platter of cooked and dry-cured meats, sausages and smooth pates accompanied by crusty baguettes, pungent mustards and other savory morsels. It can make a great appetizer, entree, picnic staple or the main attraction at a tailgating party. What’s more, it’s easy to create and transport to holiday parties. There are a few elements to consider when assembling a charcuterie platter:
Textures: Select foods with a variety of textures- firm sausages, soft pates, crusty baguettes, artisan breads and crackers.
Flavors: The smoky, spicy and salty flavors of sausages and cured meats harmonize well with the buttery-smooth flavors of soft and semi-firm cheeses. Leave the smoky cheeses for another occasion as such flavors are too similar to the smoked meats and sausages. Also, select unflavored cheeses, noneof the herb or garlic varieties.
Colors: Pair green olives with dark cured meats, white baguette slices and pale yellow cheese selections.
Shapes: Fold Some of the paper-thin sliced sausages into quarters, forming a small triangle. Roll a few of the sausage slices into cylinders. Slice some of the cheeses into wedges or rectangular strips. Crackers that are rectangles, hexagons or squares also add contrasting shapes.