Monday, January 6, 2020

How To: Classic Italian American Cheese & Salumi Platter

Want to kick off a fabulous party? There's no better way to get the conversation going than by bringing your hungry guests together around a smashing cheese (and sometimes meat) platter. As the conventional wisdom goes, such a plate need not be complicated to create and there's no need to include more than just a few high quality components for it to be successful. While these are both absolutely TRUE statements, there is still something to be said for the buzz and mouthwatering visual you can create with a decadently abundant Cheese & Salumi plate that overflows with flavors, colors, and textures.

Classic Italian American Cheese & Salumi Board

Italian Americans, having forged what I will lovingly call a new branch of their ancestral brand built around culinary extravagance ("abbondanza,"as they would say), are the force behind what many of us think of when we picture an over the top cheese and meat board. With this in mind, I glossed over years of other delightful themed cheese plates I've created (from French, to Spanish, to those inspired by the American South), and tapped into my Brooklyn Italian roots to bring you this classic Italian (American) Cheese & Salumi Platter. The how to continues below. Do check out some of our other themed platters here: French Cheese and Charcuterie Plate / Southern Cheese Plate with the works! / Thanksgiving Cheese Board.

It's never too early to get ready for the next party or holiday. 
**For more great tips on how create a winning Antipasti for a crowd, CLICK HERE. **

Classic Italian American Cheese & Salumi Platter
Serves 8 Adults

3-4 Italian Cheeses (Clockwise from top of photo: sliced Ubriaco or similar (drunken goat cheese with purple rind), cubed Provolone (bold, salty and tangy- choose Provolone Dolce for a milder flavor), Marinated Mozzarella Balls (recipe follows - you'll need 10-12 small bite sized bocconcini balls), and Piave Vecchio (mild, snackable Italian Cheeese, a kid favorite too)

1 hard Italian Salami, sliced thin (we like many varieties from Olli Salumeria brand)

3/4 Lb to 1Lb Imported Prosciutto di Parma or San Daniele (choose the best you can afford), there are also many good domestic Prosciuttos as well

Mixed Olives (suggested: Castelvetrano variety in green, Kalamata/Nicoise  or Oil Cured in black) 

Radicchio Leaves (pictured with Provolone cubes nestled in them)

Fresh Oregano Sprigs (pictured as garnish and used in Marinated Artichokes) 

Italian Parsley (pictured as garnish and used with Mozzarella balls)

Halved Breadsticks
Carr's Water Crackers
Good Italian or French Bread, sliced thinly

Orange Fig Preserve - we like Dalmatia Brand 
Satsuma Mandarin Orange (ideally with stem and leaf) 
Olive Oil About a 1/2 to 3/4 Cup
1-2 Lemons 
1/2 head Garlic 

10-12 Small Balls of Mozzarella (Bocconcini)
1 Jar Roasted Red Peppers
1 14 Ounce Can Artichoke Hearts -Marinated Artichoke recipe follows (or buy ready marinated) 

To Prepare & Serve:

Make the Marinated Artichokes (method follows) 8 hours ahead of the night before.
Use your imagination on this one but basically you add 1/3 cup of Olive Oil to a small pan. Warm over medium-low heat and add 3-4 crushed Garlic Cloves, cooking until they become slightly golden. Add about a half a lemon, sliced, then a few sprigs of herbs such as Oregano or Fresh Marjoram. Turn off the heat and squeeze the rest of the Lemon's juice into the Olive Oil. Season with Salt and Pepper (and Crushed Red Pepper if you like).  Pour oil and all its contents over artichokes in a non-reactive container (glass) and let marinate 8 hours or overnight, tossing a few times along the way. Remove the Lemons and Herb Sprigs before serving.

Slice the jarred Red Peppers into bit sized pieces. Toss them with one to two cloves of thinly sliced Garlic. 

Toss the Mozzarella balls with some Olive Oil and a few pinches finely chopped Italian Parsley. Season with a little Salt and Pepper.

Cube and slice the various Cheeses as described above. I nestled the Provolone cubes in bright red Radicchio leaves (use 1 or 2 to form a cup)

Arrange all the other components as pictured. I like to use an oval or round wood board and a series of small bowls to hold the composed items (Mozzarella, Peppers, Artichokes). Enjoy!! 

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