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cold cut platters

Guys, can you please share your ideas for cold cut platters. How to arrange them?

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  1. When I made my first charcuterie platter I was in the same boat. Then I found this great article on BonAppetit.com which gave me a great starting point. Use their list and modify it to your taste(s). I go to St. Paul Cheese Shop for the meats/cheeses because its a one stop shop. Their article pic also shows a good way to present the spread.


    3 Replies
    1. re: NugarifiK

      That platter looks completely UNappetizing to me, since I am not at all a sausage fan.

      1. re: MidwesternerTT

        it looks terrific! why are you even in this thread? lol.

      2. re: NugarifiK

        oh my, that looks MAGNIFICENT. saving that for sure for the next dinner party. thanks for linking to it.

      3. Typically you'll have 3 types of cold cuts. Roll each slice of meat to about the length & diameter of your index finger for an elegant-looking and neat-serving platter. On a good-looking rectangular tray covered with plastic wrap (or your jelly-roll pan covered in foil if it's not good-looking), align your rolled meats in 3 stripes. If you're serving cheeses, 2x2 inch slices of those can be dividers between the stripes.

        1. The link that NugarifiK looks great. That's a nice place to start,with a variety of cured meats ranging from mild to hot, and a variety of styles and preparations.

          The type of platter Midwesterner, below, seems to be suggesting is a typical American platter - deli meats and sliced cheeses. Certainly an option.

          If you want something a little different, and maybe a bit more European style, then a few cured meats, layer the slices (as the pic in the bonappetit link), pop some cheese on there (maybe a variety of a few sliced, and a few you hand cut, and a few assorted garnishments, like some cornichons, pepperoncini, roasted red peppers, and provide a nice baguette, sliced. That's what I usually put together for a charcuterie platter.

          1. Roll the meats and even the cheese if it sticks together.
            My picks would be Black Forrest ham, smoked turkey and a rare roast beef. Swiss/havarti and god ole American cheese.
            Dijon and honey mustard.
            Pickle selection.

            1. Also, if you search for images of cold meat platters, you'll see some "stock" photos of various arrangements. I saw one with decorative foldings / rollings of a slice of meat of each type as a large flower. And other that used a round tray, olives in a center dish, and a circle of radishes separating that from the rolled meats arranged in alternating V shaped swaths - like a huge black-eyed susan flower / daisy with the meat as the petals.

              Are you looking for ideas on party-platters? Or for single-serving plates? If party-platters, do everything you can to help people move through the line quickly, know exactly what they're selecting, and serve themselves easily so as not leave a mess for the other diners.

              1 Reply
              1. re: MidwesternerTT

                If keeping the line moving is an important concern, avoid round platters with bowls or mounds of food in the center. People will intuitively avoid reaching over the center to get to the slices on the far side, and very few will take the initiative to rotate the platter to move the empty section to the rear. Whoever's in charge of dispatching the food would need to rearrange round platters.

              2. Talia, will the platter be for a main course, or an appetizer? To feed how many people? Any special restrictions (i.e., no pork, no cheese, whatever?)

                6 Replies
                1. re: pinehurst

                  An appetizer. No restrictions. And its around for 20 people.

                  1. re: taliassteakhouse

                    If it's an appetizer, I'd skip the lettuce, sliced tomatoes, etc. Depending on your crowd, you can do the more typical American version of ham, turkey, roast beef, or if it's a more progressive crowd, mortadella, capicola, a couple salamis, and, depending on budget, prosciutto. I wouldn't bother with rolling everything, I never understood the point of that. Seems useless to me, a waste of time given that it'll get unrolled by the guest. I also never understood the point of the "decorative greens" in the middle of a platter. Looks silly to me to have kale on a plate that's not meant for eating. Just lay the slices out, overlapping and grouping similar varieties.

                    As for olives, my personal opinion is that high quality pitted olives are hard to come by, and the unpitted kind come in vastly more varieties. There's nothing wrong with unpitted olives. Then again, I don't mind guests having to do a little work in it means they're getting a higher quality product.

                    1. re: foreverhungry

                      The point of rolling the meat is for ease of serving / neatness of the platter. When you lay the slices out, they stick to each other and it's not uncommon to see fingers getting used (by reflex) to resolve the situation.

                      For an appetizer tray, consider toothpick kabobs of accordian-folded meat, maybe with a cherry-tomato half, pickle slice and/or cheese. Easy to pick up, neat to eat, can be combined with interesting crackers.

                    2. re: taliassteakhouse

                      Appetizers should whet the appetite, not sate it. Frankly, I think a cold cut platter is a bad idea. How about some small cubes (a half inch) of swiss and cheddar, or other firm cheese, plus small slices of fresh fruit, and berries and seedless grapes. Toothpicks in the cheese cubes. Optional in addition: a small baked brie with some plain crackers, and/or a sweetened yogurt or cream cheese dip for the fruit.

                      1. re: greygarious

                        Cold cuts in small amounts will be less filling and fewer calories than cheese cubes.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          and i find cheese pre-dinner completely dulls the palate and is far easier to over-eat. meanwhile salty foods, like olives and cured meats, will perk up the mouth.

                          figure 2 oz meat per person if this is just for apps. are you doing it buffet style or something that will be served in the center of a large table? either way, 1 platter for 20 is going to be very crowded. you might consider making 2.

                          unless your guests are supposed to be making sandwiches, no need for lettuce, tomatoes, onions, etc. assorted olives and caper berries will be enough.

                          when i have round slices of meats, i fold them twice-wise into little fan shapes. nice change from the standard rolled cylinder and very easy to pick up with tongs or a fork.

                    3. I use a large ceramic or china platter. My usual assortment is Genoa salami, either mortadella or sweet cappacola, boiled ham, roast turkey. For cheese I use emanthaler, mozzarella. provolone, American. A pile of green and black olives (pitted), cherry tomatoes or sliced tomatoes. The middle holds decorative greens such as kale or parsley. The meats are alternated with the cheeses, olives, and tomatoes.

                      Condiments are served beside the platter in individual bowls. A bread basket holding an assortment of rolls and breads are nearby.

                      Do a Google image search to see variations

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Gio

                        I would be more than happy to eat this---sounds like a great blend.

                        I am wondering if OP is thinking of this platter as an app during a cocktail hour or a light meal?

                        My family does a similar platter but our decorative greens would be gherkins or baby dills :-) for the pickle hounds.

                      2. Talia, here are a couple of photos for ideas. They are both antipasto platters I did for a party. In arranging the ingredients, I alternated the meat with veggies, cheese, whatever. I also tend to "stack" the meats, on top of one another.

                        In using something like mortadella, I would cut the slice in half or quarters, then fold into thirds or fourths. Things like salami would be slices cut 1/4" thick and laid out on top of each other. If you are using cheese, cubes can be easier than slices. I also like to put things like olives or marinated artichoke hearts in small dishes and have them sit in the middle of the platter. The different shapes kind of give you visual "texture". I often serve sliced baguettes in a separate basket lined with a cloth napkin.

                        The round platter is about 15" diameter, the rectangular platter was maybe 9"x15" (it's disappeared from my serving platter collection, so I'm not sure).

                        Get creative and have fun with it!

                        1 Reply
                        1. Lots of wonderful food suggestions. I would like to add something about the presentation.
                          I would arrange the meats and cheeses on one tray with the mustard, mayo and bread, crackers close by.
                          Then the olives, artichoke hearts, pickles etc on another tray. I hate to see it all on one tray as it just takes a second for it to be destroyed. Even separated, the replenishing is soon needed.