Charcuterie boards are a delicious start to any dining experience but with so variations to choose from where do you start? Coppa, Nduja, Salami, Prosciutto the list of possibilities continues.
The internet is awash with outlandish, overly-stylised, and over facing suggestions on how to make ‘epic’, and ‘best ever’ charcuterie boards. Everyone from vloggers, food stylist, and even travel writers seem to be having their say. Well, we thought we’d get our two-penneth in as well giving you our humble opinion on what a Northern Cure charcuterie board might look like.
We’re seeing a lot of nonsense accompanying the charcuterie on your typical food bloggers charcuterie boards. Fruit, nuts, jams, and dips have no place next to our cherished products. A great charcuterie board is all about celebrating the quality of the meat, and craft of production.
Northern Cure we want our charcuterie to pack a flavour punch, and be the star of the show. Accordingly, we serve out charcuterie with two simple accompaniments: cheese and a house-made preserve or pickle. Two acidic accompaniments that will offset the decadence of our charcuterie. We also like to have a vessel upon which to get both the charcuterie and accompaniment into our gobs at once: the bread! And that’s all you need!
The 7 Charcuterie Board Essentials
1. Coppa — A muscle running down the length of the pigs, neck and shoulder, this is a scarcely worked muscle on the pig and has amazing fat marbling. This makes it both tender and hugely flavourful, we like ours sweetly cured and smoked. A few slices served wafer-thin.
2. Nduja — A familiar one for pizza lovers, this is a spicy and tangy salami spread made from pork belly and a shed load of chilli. We make our own fermented chilli paste to use in ours. Serve a small dollop as it hits hard!
3. Salami — Our main charcuterie passion, with an abundance of options. We’ve experimented with all sort of combos but really you want a salami that is focusing on the quality of the meat, with any flavourings playing as a background note. We recommend slicing slightly thicker than you would for whole cuts.
4. Bresaola — This is a charcuterie classic, it’s a topside of beef that has been cured, and then marinated in wine to give it a proper grown-up taste. We don’t usually deal with beef at Northern Cure but we have dabbled in production of both lamb and goat bresaola in the past. Again this needs to be served wafer-thin.
5. Cheese — You need something sharp but something with a bit of interest, we had a Crookwheel sheep's cheese recently at Erst. Manchester which would do nicely.
6. Preserve and Pickles — This is where you can get really creative, we’ve served everything from pickled onions to kimchi. Don’t go too mad though, remember the star of the show is that charcuterie.
7. Bread — This is of particular importance, you don’t want a stale baguette dulling out the flavours. We’ve made a variety in the past: brown butter brioche, English muffins, and pork fat buns. However, I think the best option here would be something with a crisp crust and mild crumb. We love the loaves baked at Rudy’s in Manchester, slice them thin and drizzle
on olive oil.