Charcuterie boards are the perfect way to feed a crowd especially for summer entertaining, when it’s too hot to cook. Not having to agonize over a menu is a huge plus as meat and cheese boards allow your guests to choose from the many options available. The eye-candy factor is high as these boards are piled with beautiful and colorful components—particularly this time of year when gardens and farmer’s markets are abundant with seasonal produce. Although there are no hard and fast rules, we’ve gathered lots of tips for which ingredients to include, how to arrange the board, and some recipes that will complement your boards beautifully.
MEDITERRANEAN CHARCUTERIE BOARD
Briny olives and tasty marinades give a nod to the flavors of the Mediterranean. Summer vegetables and skewers are grilled and served with sharp cheeses and flavorful spreads, making this abundant array hearty enough to be a meal.
Grilled summer vegetables such as eggplant, yellow squash and zucchini
Jars of pepperoncini, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts and olives
Fresh cherry tomatoes
Variety of hard and soft cheeses such as aged cheddar, gorgonzola, brie and pecorino
Marinated steak skewers
White bean spread
CLASSIC EGGPLANT CAPONATA
This easy summer appetizer can be made a day or two ahead and chilled.
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 1½-pound eggplant, unpeeled, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 medium onion, cubed
3 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 14½-ounce can diced tomatoes undrained
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons drained capers
½ teaspoon dried Italian herbs
⅓ cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add eggplant, onion, and garlic cloves. Sauté until eggplant is soft and brown, about 15 minutes. Add diced tomatoes with juice, then red wine vinegar, capers and herbs. Cover and simmer until eggplant and onion are tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 to 12 minutes. Season caponata to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in fresh basil. Transfer caponata to serving bowl. Serve warm or at room temperature.
TIP: Caponata is also delicious served over
pasta and topped with parmesan cheese.
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 large garlic clove minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
2 cups olives of your choice (kalamata, green, black or a mix)
Combine the olive oil, vinegar, herbs and garlic in a small bowl. Place the drained olives in a wide mouthed jar and pour in the herb mixture. Gently shake the jar to coat the olives. Refrigerate for two hours before serving. Olives will keep up to two weeks. Occasionally shaking the jar to keep the seasonings distributed.
MARINATED SKIRT STEAK SKEWERS
1 pound skirt steak
½ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
Soak wooden skewers in water for at least an hour or overnight to prevent burning. Slice the skirt steak into slender strips. Mix all marinade ingredients together in a small bowl and pour over steak strips. Allow to marinate at least 4 hours refrigerator.
Heat grill on high heat. Once the grill is ready, thread the strips of steak onto the skewers. Cook over a high heat grill for about 4 minutes per side.
SIMPLE SAUTÉED SHRIMP
A great addition to a summer charcuterie board, offering a lighter protein option.
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper
With a paper towel, pat shrimp dry. Place shrimp on a tray and season to taste with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Put butter and olive oil into a non-stick skillet. Preheat the skillet over medium-high heat until the butter fully melts.
Put the shrimp in the skillet. Flip them over after a couple of minutes and move them around for about 3 to 4 minutes over medium-high heat until they are firm and opaque.
Adjust seasonings, pile on the board and serve with cocktail picks!
WHITE BEAN DIP
This spread is delicious with naan and grilled baguette slices, but sugar snap peas, red peppers or carrot sticks would be a great crunchy alternative.
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
⅓ cup olive oil
Coarse ground black pepper
Place the beans, garlic, lemon juice and ⅓ cup olive oil in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. Season with salt and pepper, to taste and give a few more pulses. Transfer the bean puree to a small bowl. Garnish with olives or fresh herbs.
SUMMER CHEESE BOARD WITH
STONE FRUITS AND BERRIES
Summer sweetened fruits paired with soft cheeses make this board all about the mix of sweet and savory. A perfect light offering with a glass of wine.
Grilled peach slices with mozzarella
Goat cheese with local honey
TIP: To grill peach slices brush lightly with olive oil and quickly char
both sides on a hot grill or grill pan. This adds a rich and unexpected flavor.
Layer with fresh mozzarella, give a drizzle of oil and sprinkle with fresh basil.