The beauty of making charcuterie is that it lends itself to an abundance of imagination and exploration. That is to say, offering seemingly limitless options where every nosh guarantees slight variations in texture and tasting notes. Anyone who’s made charcuterie can attest, it’s a creative expression with a pragmatic component— they act as a centerpiece for dialogue and conversation. Truly, a feast for the eyes that brings everyone a sense of delight.
Typically, a good loaf of bread, a bright bottle of natural wine, and a quality olive oil is the perfect starting place for a well-rounded charcuterie spread.
From there, color and variety offer vibrancy and good company:
fresh, fragrant herbs such as basil
edible flowers from a local farm
salty green Sicilian olives
dolmades (stuffed grape leaves)
a soft goat cheese rolled in smokey spices
nutty homemade pesto
whipped white miso
fermented hot sauce
pickled mustard seeds
a dollop of honey
gooey madjool dates
and chunks of dark chocolate
The plant-based approach to charcuterie isn’t relegated to the omnivore lifestyle— it’s for all!
Close your eyes and briefly be transported to a Sicilian cafe, or the cliff sides of Santorini. There, you enjoy with gratitude the fruits of every farmer’s labour that planted and harvested every morsel your bellies receive.
RECIPE: SAVORY NUT & SEED LOAF
As for the bread featured in this centerpiece, it’s dense, nutty, savory, and a little funky in the best way thanks to a last minute decision to sprinkle in some umami seasoning. The original recipe was, and can be, adapted in a multitude of ways to work with ingredients and pantry items on hand. A few surprise showstoppers give it that extra whirl of wonder and delight. Va va voom this loaf is lively and good!
Begin the process by preheating the oven to 300F. Grease the bottom and sides of a bread pan with coconut oil (or line with wax paper). In a large bowl, combine approximately 1/2 cup each of the following diverse nuts and seeds (not all are necessary, work with what you have or prefer):
In a separate bowl, crack 6 large eggs and whisk well. Add 2 tsp salt and 5 tbsp olive oil. Fold in nut and seed mixture. If you’ve got the umami seasoning, sprinkle generously!
Chop 1/2 cup of dates (pits removed) and add to bowl, stirring all ingredients together until well combined. Pour and press the mixture into the bread pan. Bake in the oven for 1 hour. Remove and let it cool completely, or overnight.
Slice, serve, and share alongside your beautiful charcuterie. (Give it a good smother with some white miso and olive oil, ;-).
Thanks and giving to all. Bon appetite!
This post was originally written by Allison Ryan Walton in 2020— and updated today, to met the moment.