It’s almost New Year’s, and we’ve been looking for the perfect meal to usher in 2021. Initially, we were thinking about making Ina Garten’s easy but decadent lemon cappellini with caviar (yes, caviar), but honestly, we’re not sure we feel like even turning on the stove this year. Thankfully, the Barefoot Contessa has another suggestion. In a recent interview on NPR, Garten said that her latest favorite no-cook meal is a charcuterie board, and today she shared exactly how she puts the ultimate charcuterie board together. It’s easy, elegant, and a total win for New Year’s Eve (or any celebration, really).
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When you go to the store and load up on ingredients for your platter, it can be overwhelming when you bring them home and start trying to design your charcuterie board. But Garten has a few tips.
First, you should start out by placing the larger items on a big flat serving board. This means your cheeses, cured meats, and larger items like cheese straws or bread sticks.
Make sure you leave space between these items, then fill in the spaces with small bowls of mustard, chutney, fig jam, and the like. Last but not least, fill in the rest of the board with what Garten calls “large blocks of color,” meaning instead of scattering figs or almonds accross the board, you’re keeping each ingredient in its own space. This adds some interesting visual contrast to the board, keeps it from looking too busy, and helps highlight the quality of your ingredients. “Group like things together and the display will look simple and elegant,” Garten says.
If you’re not sure which ingredients to include on your board, Garten provides suggestions. For cheeses, she uses a sharp cheddar (like Cabot) and a triple crème cheese (she recommends Mount Tam from Cowgirl Creamery). We’d also throw in a spreadable blue cheese to add some funk. For meats, she recommends sliced salami and Italian prosciutto de Parma. There should be a few spreads on the board that will complement everything. Garten added Maille coarse mustard and Stonewall Kitchen chutney to hers.
Last but not least, a selection of dried and fresh fruits (Garten chose dried apricots, fresh clementines, and fresh figs) and nuts will round out the board.
You don’t have to get exactly what Garten used for your board, but just remember: you want a few cheeses with different textures, a couple of cured meats, some fresh fruit, nuts, and crackers and bread for serving (we recommend just heading to Trader Joe’s, where you can get everything you’ll need for an awesome charcuterie board!). All you have to do is assemble the ingredients, and you’ve got a fancy, no-cook meal that’s worthy of any celebration (especially when paired with a bottle of bubbly!).
Before you go, check out Ina Garten’s easy weeknight dinner recipes below: