When John and I traveled to Paris two years ago, we re-discovered our love for charcuterie. After eating French food for almost a week straight (not that I’m complaining), we needed something slightly less… buttery.
Down the street from our apartment was an amazing fromagerie (or cheese shop). The woman who owned the place spoke enough English — and we spoke enough broken French — to figure out what we wanted. Some cured meat, a variety of cheeses, a crusty baguette, olive tapenade, and of course, red wine, and we were good to go. We took our bounty back to the apartment, set up shop in the living room, and enjoyed a light, flavorful meal just the two of us.
Romantic? Yes. Inexpensive? Yes. Some of the best charcuterie we’ve ever eaten? Yes.
Needless to say, we’ve been fans of this “light approach to a meal” ever since. Frequently, when I don’t know what to make for dinner or feel like we’ve been eating large quantities of food, I’ll run over to one of our specialty markets, pick up some meats, cheese, and bread, and call it a day. We’ve always got olive tapenade and wine in stock, so throwing this together last minute is simple.
Above, we have some fresher than fresh mozzarella, parmigiano reggiano, a nice bleu, and a hard goat’s cheese that the cheese guy selected for us. Then, some salami, a sweet sopressata, and prosciutto di parma. As always, some tapenade (my fav) and bread accompany.
While meats like prosciutto di parma might be expensive (at least the good stuff), you only need a few slices per person. This normally comes out to a mere few dollars total.
If you’re worried about buying too much, don’t be. You can easily throw leftovers onto a deli roll or baguette and take a delicious sandwich to work.
For the non-meat eaters, make a platter of your favorite cheeses with various accoutrements: cornichons, whole grain mustard, jams or jelly, vegetable paté, etc.