We have been eating mostly paleo for almost a year now. We have fallen off the boat in a few spots since the move but we try to stick to as much as possible. Thanksgiving is going to be no exception, so as heartbreaking as it is to say, there probably won’t be a cheese platter in my future. So I will be defaulting to the perfect pairing for the cheese platter and my second love, cured meats. I love these so much that I only half jokingly asked someone to bring me tasty salted pig parts from Boccalone, my favorite salumeria in San Francisco, to ALT Summit in January.
Setting up a platter should be done in a way that shows love and respect to these glorious meats. Just pulling them out of the packages and slapping them down on a plate just won’t do. How are you going to do so wrong to this meat when you would assemble a cheese plate as a work of art? Even looking at my platter now I can think of things I could have done to really make it fabulous, such as having cute little pig labels! Next time. Spain and Italy are two of the strongest players in the cured meats and I organized the platter by country, with Spain on top and Italy on the bottom. The olives aren’t all Italian but the bright green are and they are my absolute favorite olive right now.
A few things to consider if you are going to set up a meat platter
- buy the best meats you can afford, this is a rule with any food. You can’t go wrong with high quality ingredients.
- buy from a local salumeria or specialty store if you have one. Getting them sliced fresh and watching them put your order together makes for a very different experience than grabbing a sealed plastic package at the grocery store. Plus, you can ask them about the meats and wow your guests with your wisdom.
- assemble the plate in the morning, cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge to pull out when guests arrive.
- vary how you display the meats for some visual interest. Roll some, fold some and just pile others on the plate in inviting piles.
I currently am on a budget so while I would have loved to have gone to the market to get my meats that wasn’t in my budget so I got mine at the store. You can find all of these at a quality grocery store and most of mine and the almonds actually came from Trader Joe’s. The olives have grown in popularity and you can find quality olive bars in a lot of grocery stores these days. I base that on if I have it in Indiana most likely have a short drive from you.
Salchichon – a Spanish summer sausage. Unlike many of the other meat this is made using a combination of smoking, cooking and drying. I preferred it over the Italian salami Sopressata.
Chorizo Cantimpalo– a meat that is cured with at least a 50/50 ratio of salt and paprika. The paprika give it a great flavor that is distinct from many of the other meats you will find.
Jamon Serrano – is the spanish version of prosciutto. Jamon means ham and Serrano means mountain. Some are coated with a dusting of paprika add a different flavor. There is a more coveted version called Jamon Iberico that is made from a specific breed of pig.
Marcona Almonds – A specialty almond imported from Spain comes with a higher price tag. They are plump and round compared to other varieties and have a softer texture similar to macadamia nuts. The version sold at Trader Joe’s is toasted with rosemary and is a great addition to any platter, cheese or meat.
Prosciutto – the most familiar of the meats. The best stuff comes from Parma. Look for Prosciutto di Parma. It is worth the extra money. Traditional prosciutto traditional is only made using pork and salt. Stay away from meats that have used sugar in the aging.
Sopressata–a dry cured salami Sopressata di Basilicata is the most common. Sopressata Toscana is made using all the leftover parts of the pig.
Capocollo – also referred to as Coppa this is the neck muscle of the pig that is cured and sliced thin like prosciutto.
Mortadella – a staple of the Bologna region of Italy it is the predecessor to the American bologna. This is sliced thinner and much more tasty.
Castelvetrano Olives – a delicate fruity flavor that isn’t over powering. They are picked young which provides them their out-of-this-world color. They are similar to a black olive in meatiness and flavor.
Thanksgiving is all about family, friends and delicious food. Luckily, the food blogging community is all about these things as well. To celebrate the holiday, Meghan from Cake ‘n’ Knife and Susannah from Feast + West are hosting Blogsgiving Dinner. There are 20 awesome blogs sharing 52 recipes
The idea is based on the old-fashioned progressive dinner party, in which you’d eat each course at a different guest’s home. Each blogger is bringing one or more dishes to the party on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week, so be sure to stop by each one and get some ideas for your own Thanksgiving meal. Today’s courses include cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and soup.
We’ll be posting to social media with the hashtag #blogsgivingdinner. Hope you can join us!
Blogsgiving Progressive Dinner Menu
Monday, Nov. 10
Cured Meat Platter from Wit Wisdom and Food
Baked Camembert with Cranberry Walnut Crust from Cake ‘n’ Knife
Ginger Cran Apple Chutney from Love & Flour
Brandied Grapes with Cheese from Glamour Girl Gourmet
Shrimp Sweet Potato Mousseline from Home at Six
Cranberry Goat Cheese and Butternut Squash Crostini from The Wetherills Say I Do
Maple Pecan Baked Brie from My Cooking Spot
Sassy Salmon Dip from Betty Becca
Baked Brie with Cranberry Chutney from The Speckled Palate
Butternut Squash Crostini from Chez CateyLou
Gluten Free Holiday Cheese Board from Twin Stripe
If you want more tips for making a Thanksgiving dinner with less stress sign up and download my free guide to a complete Thanksgiving dinner.