How to Master Summer Cheese Boards
One of my favorite ways to have dinner in the summer is to lay out a huge Cheese Board or Charcuterie Plate. When it’s hot out, snacking off a plate of goodies like this is so much more appealing to me than sitting down with a huge plate of something.
Plus, a good cheese board can be moved around so if you move from inside to outside or back inside (Colorado weather), it’s easy to transport.
But, making a good cheese board can seem daunting, especially for new cooks. Good news! It’s easy. Start with a variety of good meats and cheeses and then pile the board high with other fixings! I’ll show you some of my favorites in this post, but don’t let me stop you from experimenting with whatever flavors you like!
I shopped Primo Taglio® exclusively at my local Safeway, but you can find these exclusive products at all Albertsons Companies family of stores, including Albertsons, ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Shaw’s, Star Market, United Supermarkets and Carrs/Safeway.
For the marinated vegetables, add potatoes to a pot of salted boiling water and boil until tender (about 10 minutes). Then remove from water and rinse with cold water to chill. Repeat with green beans, but cook for just 2 minutes until bright green, but still slightly crunchy.
Toss vegetables with vinaigrette ingredients and store in the fridge until ready to assemble boards.
For good board assembly, place your cheeses and crackers first, followed by meats (rolled, folded, or piled). Once the basics of the board are in place, fill in spots with marinated veggies, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, and herbs.
Drizzle honey over some of the cheeses for a little sweetness.
TIPS FOR MAKING AN EXCELLENT SUMMER CHEESE BOARD
This should go without saying, but the meat and cheese pieces of a good summer charcuterie board are pretty important! You want a variety of flavors and textures, but also you want quality.
This summer, I’m obsessed with the exclusive Primo Taglio® line of meats and cheeses available at my local Safeway. They are available in the deli area and have a nice variety of premium, hand-trimmed meats and naturally aged cheeses.
For my cheese boards, I went with their prosciutto, capocolla, and chorizo. The chorizo was a surprising favorite with my kids! I thought it was going to be too spicy, but they kept calling it “good pepperoni”. I’ll take it!
When you’re picking meats and cheese, I think 3-4 varieties is good. You want some variety. When it comes to cheeses, I like to have some hard cheeses, some soft, and maybe a blue cheese to round out the flavors.
What Else Can You Put on a Cheese Board?
In short: ANYTHING. There are some classics like olives or pickles, but honestly I left those off my cheese board this time around just to change it up!
For an interesting twist on the classic, I recommend blanching some fresh summer vegetables and marinating them in a simple vinaigrette.
For my summer cheese board, I did this with tiny new potatoes and fresh green beans. Adding them to the cheese board made it possible to literally make a meal out of the board!
The acidity of the veggies cut through some of the richness of the cheeses, which was nice.
These days you can also buy marinated veggies in jars or in deli sections, but it’s not hard to make them yourself if you have the time!
How to Style Your Cheese Board
I love making cheese boards. I find it almost relaxing. It’s kind of like a puzzle but with really good meat and cheese!
The overarching key to making a great cheese board is you want it to look really full! Pile the stuff up and don’t be afraid if ingredients are touching. If you have too much space in between items, the board will look sparse and not as inviting.
Other than that, I always recommend to start with the essentials. Plan out your meats, cheeses, and crackers first.
Once you have those in place, it’s just a puzzle to fill in the rest.
Go crazy with piling stuff up.
To be honest, I use cheese boards as an excuse to clean out the pantry! That bag of sunflower seeds in the pantry? Toss them on! Almost anything crunchy, savory, sweet, or salty goes well on a cheese board!
If you have ingredients that might spill out too much, you can also put them in little bowls which also work as dividers for the food.
If you aren’t embracing the summer charcuterie board, what are you waiting for?!