Fall Charcuterie

S: Greta did not buy a board for nothing if not for charcuterie.

Apart from my birthday present to  Greta the book Platters and Boards, this oh-so-hip food trend actually goes back hundreds of years. Mini history lesson; the word charcuterie originally derives from the French words for “flesh” (chair) and “cooked” (cuit), and was used to designate shops in fifteenth-century France that sold products made from pork. The fundamental methods of curing and preserving basically translate into the basis of a nice board being that you need good high-quality meat products like salami, or else did you even charcuterie?

With fall in full swing, I thought a fall charcuterie was the best way to pay respects to the lingering warmth of summer while welcoming savory seasonal flavors. Plus, it’s about dang time. Advice for the best board? Go local, seasonal, and flavorful. Play around with textures, sweetness and saltiness, crunchy, soft, spreadable, the whole shebang.

Highlights of this seasonal board include the best of fall fruits like Honeycrisp apples, black mission figs, and concord grapes, juxtaposed by the nuttiness of coconut roasted cashews, sweet and spicy glazed walnuts and even homemade, gluten-free crackers plus our friends Simple Mills almond flour crackers.

And don’t think we forgot about the meats and cheeses. We went local with mouth-watering good salami from DeLaurenti’s and sharp Mainland grass-fed cheddar , along with some delicious Trader Joe’s goat gouda. If we had a larger board, Humboldt Fog would no doubt be the center star (spring charcuterie anyone?). Whatever cheese and meats flavor your fancy, go be fancy.

Recipe: Fall Charcuterie

Serves: 3-4 people

Ingredients:
cheese, salami, crackers, spiced nuts, balsamic roasted figs, fruit

Directions:
h o m e m a d e  c r a c k e r s
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups almond flour, finely ground
1 Tbsp of dried rosemary

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Whisk together one egg, salt, pepper, and any additional spices you may want like rosemary or thyme.
3. Add the almond flour and stir to make a cohesive dough.
4. Place the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper. Pat it out and top with an additional piece of parchment or plastic wrap. Roll the dough out to about 1/8″ thickness.
5. Remove the top paper and using a pizza wheel or thin knife, cut dough into 1″ squares. Move cut crackers on parchment to the baking sheet.
6. Bake the crackers for 14 to 16 minutes, until they’re light golden brown. The crackers around the perimeter will tend to brown more quickly, so transfer those to a cooling rack and return the pan to the oven to finish baking the remaining center crackers.
7. Let crackers cool completely.

w a l n u t s
1 cup of walnuts
2/3 cup honey
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

1. Leave oven on at 350 degrees F.
2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
3. In a large bowl, add the chili powder, paprika, cinnamon, and salt to a large bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
4. Add honey to a large skillet over medium heat. When the honey melts, add the walnuts to the mixture, turn off heat, and stir until all the walnuts are completely coated.
5. Toss walnuts with spice mix until evenly covered.
6. Use the spatula to separate the walnuts and spread out in a single layer.
7. Place in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the walnuts cool.
8. Break apart any that are stuck together and store in airtight container.

b a l s a m i c f i g s
4 black mission figs
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
sea salt to taste
1. Keep oven at 350 degrees F.
2. Slice the figs in half lengthways and place on a baking tray cut side up.
3. Pour 1/2 tsp of balsamic onto each fig trying not to let too much run onto the baking tray.
4. Roast for about 7 minutes until the figs are hot through but not dried or shriveled.
5. Take them out of the oven and sprinkle with sea salt to taste.

c r e a t e
Make aesthetically pleasing and overflowing with goodness, then grab a few friends and dig in!

Other ideas for fall charcuterie: prosciutto, toasted baguette, pears, whipped pumpkin feta dip, pumpkin seeds, chai-spiced nuts, brie, etc.

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