What this is: A guide of decorative ways to add charcuterie to cheese and charcuterie boards
Who it’s for: Cheese board devotees looking to up their game.
Adding charcuterie to a cheese board can be a little intimidating at first. Do you just, uh, lay slices of meat down on the board? How do you handle the prosciutto and serrano jamón that have been so carefully sliced and layered between deli paper? Use our guide below to help you sort it all out and you’ll be making not just cheese boards with charcuterie, but full blown charcuterie boards in no time flat.
HOW TO STYLE YOUR CHARCUTERIE
- Roll it up, baby - It may be super simple, but just rolling the sliced charcuterie adds a great shape (cylinders) to your board. These can be fanned out around a bowl or a little wheel of cheese or stacked up to give your board height.
- Taco Tuesday - Think of your salami as a tortilla and then fold it up like a soft taco shell shape. Now you can layer these out in a line, a squiggly line, stack radiating out from a bowl or fan out from a corner. Depending which way you want the salami to face determines which way you start your shape. (Note: works best with sliced salami.)
- Pretty Piles - With any cured muscle meats, such as prosciutto, you can create pretty piles by gently guiding your slices of meat down on the board on top of each other. This makes a lovely, almost gossamer pile on your plate and lets your guests easily pull one piece off. (Note: works best with cured hams like prosciutto.)
- Flower Fold - Take your salami slices and fold into quarters and then arrange on your platter. Start with the point of the folded salami pointing in the direction you want your line or stack to go—these look absolutely fantastic around a circle, in a line or radiating out from the corner. If you want to go around a bowl, start with a row about an inch from the edge of the bowl and then another ring a little closer and a final ring almost standing up around the bowl. This will end up looking like a giant flower around the bowl.
- Flower Roll - Fold a piece of cured ham (prosciutto) in half the long way. Then, place so that the folded edge runs along the top from left to right, and roll from the right or left side to create an all-in-one rose.
- Chub Soldiers - You can find small salamis (called “chubs”) in most grocery and cheese stores. You’ll want to peel any non-edible casing back so you can slice up little salami coins. Use these to make little fallen soldier lines of meaty deliciousness (think dominos after you’ve knocked them all over).
- Chub Bites - If you’re creating a charcuterie board with more than one kind of chub and want to differentiate the two, you can cut up one in Chub Soldiers and the other one in much thicker slices that are then cut into into quarters. This is also a great shape to make you’d like to make little food skewers.
BEWARE THE SALAMI ROSE
You may see a conspicuous absence on our list above and be asking yourself, where is the salami rose that’s all over TikTok? We didn't leave it out by mistake—here’s why we don't condone the creation of the salami rose.
- You have to (wo)manhandle each piece of salami a lot to form this shape. We prefer to minimally handle all of our food that isn’t being cooked before it’s eaten.
- It’s not easy to pull off one piece to eat without touching them all, and in this new pandemic era, it seems like not having to touch things too much is a good thing.
- It can use a lot of salami, which is unlikely to be eaten and thus could end up as waste.
- It’s pretty, and while that seems like it could only be a good thing, it also means that nobody wants to be “that” person who kills the beautiful rose. So, at the end of the night you’re left with a mostly empty cheese board with a lonely salami rose on it. And, following from #3 above, this could be all of the salami on the plate that no one ends up eating and could all go to waste.
Still interested in learning how to make it? Ok, you win. Here is the salami rose, but maybe think about using thin slices of veggies instead. Watermelon radishes would love to help out here! We begrudgingly present...The Salami Rose:
HOW TO MAKE A SALAMI ROSE
Start with a ramekin or a wine glass, (don’t try this with a shot glass, you’ll never get those salami slices unstuck again!) Fold over a piece of salami so that half is in the glass and half is out. Repeat with 3 other slices overlapping each piece enough that they all fit around one time. Repeat again with 4 more slices of salami but offset the starting point just a little so that the “petals” don’t line up with the first row. Repeat for one more row if necessary. Flip the glass over on your cheese board and remove the glass. Ta-da! (Now see if you can remove just one slice of salami without ruining the whole thing).
There are many ways to style charcuterie, and many different kinds of delicious charcuterie to experiment with. Try them all!
Get some practice salami. If you’re having it sliced before you buy it, ask for it cut thin, because a little goes a long way and it folds better with it’s thinner—thicker slices like to come undone! Practice the methods above for salami and try laying it out on your favorite board. Get a sense for how much space it covers and even snap a few shots and keep it in a cheese board album on your phone. If you’re feeling extra organized, write a note with the type of salami, the amount you bought and where you bought it and make sure you can see that note in your photo.
Click the icons to download a pdf of this lesson and our two handy guides: How Cheese is Made and Cheese and Pairing Types.