Easy Summer Assembling
*This post was created in partnership with DeLallo Foods. Over 60 years ago it was a small Italian market in Pennsylvania now it’s incredible online marketplace with great products that inspired this Summer cheese and meat board. As always thank you so much for supporting my passion for bringing beautiful food to the world and the companies who get behind that message.
Welcome to the season of assembling. Summer’s near perfect weather and plentiful produce leave little time or necessity for cooking. Instead we piece together stunning meals by gathering some sweet and snappy peas, peppery radishes, a handful of cherries that pop in your mouth, and a few cheeses, pickled things, sliced meats and whatever else may be lingering in the fridge.
Does this sort of thing actually constitute a meal? Absolutely. In fact, this particular board, assembled on a large wooden chopping block is a fitted feast for a crowd. And the hardest part was pulling myself out of the sun-drenched hammock chair to get to the grocery store. More often than not I’ll skip that step entirely and use this platter meal as a fridge cleaning in disguise.
When creating a cheese (and so much more) board such as this one, it’s important to think about variety, color and to throw in a few extra things here and there to keep it exciting. Depending on the time of year your board could look drastically different than the one I created. Slowly wander the farmer’s market or produce aisles and grab the things that jump at you. In the summertime I often let my nose do the shopping as I follow the intoxicating scent of stone fruit or the sweet dust-like smell of a ripe summer tomato.
To that I add a variety of cheeses that differ in both texture and strength. A soft, creamy and mellow goat cheese is a lovely compliment to a smoky Gouda. A few slices of cured meats like a peppery salumi or prosciutto and you are well on your way.
I mentioned that I like to add a few surprising elements. These are the things that take that bite of bread and cheese over-the-top. Pickled things; onions, raisins, cherries and peaches (seriously, pickled fruit is amazing). Savory or sweet jams or spreads, roasted vegetables, honey (have you tried smoked honey?!). Of course a few little dishes of olives and nuts strategically placed are always welcomed.
Remember to have plenty of crackers and bread on hand for serving.
With a well stocked pantry with some essential items a simple and stunning summer meal is close at hand.
What I keep in the pantry or fridge:
Hard/medium cheeses like Parmesan, Pecorino, Gouda – smoked or not.
Soft cheese such as Chevre, blue cheese, triple creme, or camembert
Salumi and/or other cured meats
Things in jars or things that last a good bit in the fridge (olives, artichoke hearts, jams, etc.):
Pickled Onions, cornichons, nuts, Fig jam, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts
Recipes to try to take your cheese board over the top:
Quick Pickled Raisins
Sharp Cheddar Cheese Crackers
Quick Pickled Red Onions
Fig and Taleggio Toasts