The sun is shining, the days are longer and the evenings balmy; it must be picnic time! Summer is a time to celebrate and it seems as if the stars are aligned; we are more sociable, we want to be outdoors and we are more spontaneous. We hanker for lighter dishes when it’s hot: refreshing salads, cold meats, soft cheeses, crisp vegetables with a creamy mayonnaise.
Although there will be little to no cooking involved in preparing your charcuterie board, you will need to take a moment to plan how you will transport everything to the picnic. Charcuterie meats, once sliced, should be kept chilled along with any other foods that will spoil in the heat, so prepare them in advance and store under food wraps in the fridge until the last minute. If your fridge is large enough you can arrange much of your ingredients on your board (or platter), cover tightly and keep chilled, ready to go. Alternatively arrange the foods in groups and store in separate containers to arrange on your board at your picnic table.
- Prosciutto di Parma (Parma ham) tends to have a lighter flavour than some of the other types of air-dried hams from Spain and France. Choose wafer-thin slices if you are buying ready-sliced or mask your butcher to slice them as thinly as possible.
- Lomo or lonza is a perfect summer charcuterie meat. The pork loin fillet is cured as a whole piece rather than minced/ground and the resulting meat is leaner than salamis. Ideal for summer, it is traditionally served in thin slices and served with some bread.
- Mortadella (known as Bologna in the US) is a large Italian sausage that is more like a cold cut of meat, than salami; it is made from cooked cured pork. It is often flavoured with pistachio nuts, which add a lovely spike of green
- Smoked chicken breast should retain its moisture and result in a smoky but still succulent meat. It is delicious accompanied by a creamy mayonnaise and salad leaves.
- Rabbit terrine is a less intensely flavoured terrine, more like a pâté de campagne than a game terrine. It is often baked in small dishes, then chilled and served straight from the dish. It is a lighter terrine ideal for summer.
- Baby salamis – you can find several different types of mini salami sticks as well as rather cute little barrels or mini sausages. They are a fun addition to any charcuterie board.
Meats don’t need to take a back seat but make sure you pair them with plenty of lighter touches, with fresh summer fruits, berries and tender salad leaves.
- Cheeses: herbed and fruit goat’s cheese
- Fruit/veg: mango slices, baby vegetables, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, redcurrants, cos leaves
- Nuts: pistachios,
- Sauces: Saffron Mayonnaise
- Breads: breadsticks
- Herbs: micro herbs, edible flowers