What To Do With Leftover Charcuterie

Charcuterie platters can be tricky. They're perfect for cocktail parties, but it's always tough figuring out exactly what to do with the leftovers once the guests have packed up and left. What's a host to do?

Don't just toss any scraps from your meat and cheese platter, and don't just nibble at what's left either. Here are some easy tips for turning all your charcuterie leftovers into crave-worthy second acts.

Save spicy cured sausages for pasta sauce

Infuse spicy soppressata in a neutral oil, like canola or vegetable, and reserve the liquid for tomorrow morning's Basque-style fried eggs. You can also steep leftover hard chorizo in clam juice or fish stock, then use the classically seasoned stock as the base for your clams, kale, and squid-ink pasta sauce.

Herbaceous cured sausages are perfect for barley risotto

Sweet cured sausages flavored with fennel seeds, oregano, rosemary, and the like can be steeped in chicken stock and used for soups or a tasty mushroom barley risotto. Mushroom and barley have an age-old romance, and the hint of umami provided by the sausage steeped in the stock accentuates the heartiness of beef mushrooms, like king oyster. What's more, the barley makes for a texturally pleasant alternative to traditional short-grained rice risotto. Tricks like this can help you use meat as a flavoring agent instead of a primary source of protein.

Cook sliced meats so they're nice and crispy

For thinner, tender meats, like prosciutto, jamón Ibérico, and speck ham, we say crisp them up. Place the slices on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake in a 350-degree oven. Cook until most of the fat has rendered off and they appear golden brown in color. Allow the slices to cool, and then serve them as crisps over appetizers or crumble them up to toss in your favorite salad. You can also add the crumbles to a bread crumb mixture to make this Buffalo spinach and artichoke dip or this baked mac and cheese.

Use blue cheese to create a tasty spread for crackers and bread

Don't fret — there's life in that extra-pungent blue cheese yet. Spread the leftovers, along with a good helping of aioli, chopped walnuts, and a healthy dusting of smoked paprika, over Belgian endive wedges. Then broil and garnish with chopped parsley and oregano. This method is also great eaten on sourdough toast, or by adding garlic and smearing over a French baguette for a last-minute garlic bread. Try cleansing your palate with a leftover glass of crisp white wine after indulging in this rich, aromatic, and fatty delight.

Pair semi soft cheeses with broiled vegetables

Brie and charred carrots are a surprisingly tasty combo, so when in doubt, head for that. Feel free to swap out the carrots with similar favorites, like parsnips or vitamin-rich roast sweet potato wedges.

Hard cheese rinds are perfect for your next stock

As with many hard cheeses, leftover Parmesan rinds can be transformed into a phenomenal stock. Scrape off any residual cheese bits before adding your rinds to the simmering liquid, and you've got a versatile base ideal for just about any sauce, soup, or stew.

Grapes, olives, and more can make for tasty spreads and brine bases

Try roasting errant grapes with orange liqueur, brown sugar, and a cinnamon stick until just about to burst. Then, cool the mixture slightly and serve it over thick toast with a spread of sharp, creamy goat cheese. 

For olives, the answer is tapenade (duh). Roughly chop the olives, then pulse them in a food processor with garlic, lemon zest, fresh herbs, and olive oil. Spread the tapenade on a lightly toasted hoagie and top with leftover slices of salami and prosciutto for your own version of our Italian hoagie sandwich

Finally, leftover pickle juice can be used to dress up your whiskey sour mix or as a brine base for Carla Hall's Nashville-style hot chicken.