EatInEatOut Holiday 2014 - Page 61

char · cu · te · rie (origin French: chair ‘cooked’ and cuit ‘flesh’) the branch of cooking dedicated to the preservation and preparation of meat products, namely pork. BY Kathy Jollimore, Maritime Reporter The art of charcutрie, long a staple on the French table, has become a fixture on restaurant menus the world over. Made popular in 15th century France when selling uncooked pork was illegal, charcuterie grew into a celebrated trade, a specialty where meat could be preserved and prepared in unique and increasingly delicious ways. Don’t be tempted by those overpriced store bought platters. Throwing together your own charcuterie board is not only easy, it takes mere minutes to prepare, making it perfect for a quick snack or effortless entertaining. Much like building a cheese plate, a charcuterie board is about variation. A well-crafted charcuterie board will include meats from various animal sources with differing textures and degrees of fattiness. A fatty prosciutto juxtaposed against a lean bresaola for instance. Furthermore, think outside of the box; don’t confine yourself to the traditional pork charcuterie. Though you are unlikely to find a wide variety of charcuterie beyond the usual pork at your grocery store, a shop specializing in charcuterie will have everything from lamb sausage to duck prosciutto. Pâtés and rillettes of rabbit, goose or veal also provide a rich addition to the cured varieties. Besides the requisite bread and crackers, many foods compliment the salt and fat of charcuterie, namely roasted red peppers, pickled vegetables, cornichon, black and green olives, and whole grain or Dijon mustard. Charcuterie also plays nicely with sweeter embellishments like dried figs, dates, quince and even preserves. Of course, the most natural of pairings, cheese, is right at home on a charcuterie board. A variety of your favorites will do just fine. Besides a garnish of fresh herbs or shoots, don’t get caught up in the details. Charcuterie allows you to throw together an impressive appetizer with little effort and minimal time. Simply arrange and serve. Charcuterie is sharing. It’s social. It’s gathering around the table with friends and family. It’s precisely what holiday entertaining is all about. WWW.EATINEATOUT.CA 61