Courtesy Dustin Christofolo

Recipe Friday: Quiessence Charcuterie

Written by Marilyn Hawkes Category: Recipes Issue: March 2017

Putting together a charcuterie plate usually involves selecting some good quality cheeses and cured meats. But if you want to dress things up a bit, Quiessence at The Farm at South Mountain co-owner/chef Dustin Christofolo suggests that you try adding some jardiniere (pickled vegetables) and olive relish.

For the relish, Christofolo uses Ascolano olives from Queen Creek Olive Mill. If you can’t find those, he recommends substituting Castelvetrano olives, which most grocery stores stock. He suggests pairing the olive relish with a sheep’s milk cheese and a crisp white wine.

Christofolo offers this bit of advice: “Have fun with the recipes. The first time that you execute a new recipe, it may not turn out perfect. Each time you approach it and use the same techniques, it will get better and better.”

1 lb. pickling cucumbers – cut into ¾ in chunks
4 celery stalks cut crosswise into ¾ in pieces
10 tsp. pickling salt (fine sea salt)
1 small cauliflower head cut into small florets
2 large carrots sliced into 3/16 in rounds on mandolin
2 cups whole shallots
1 lb. long sweet peppers seeded and cut into ¾ in rounds
12 bay leaves
24 garlic cloves
3 tsp. whole black peppercorns
12 oregano sprigs
5 ½ cups white wine vinegar
5 cups water
12 tbsp. olive oil

Toss cucumber and celery with 2 tsp. salt and let stand at room temperature for one hour. Drain all liquid and then add to rest of the vegetables. Put all herbs and spices on the bottom of the pickling container and place vegetables on top. Bring water/vinegar and remaining 8 tsp. of salt to a boil. Stir to dissolve salt. Pour the hot liquid over the vegetables, herbs and spices in pickling container. Put olive oil on top and let cool at room temperature. Refrigerate overnight. Good for 4 weeks.

Ascolano olive relish
8 cups chopped Ascolano olives
1 cup finely chopped fennel
½ cup chopped fennel fronds
½ cup finely chopped shallots
1 orange, juiced
1 ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 cup Queen Creek extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper

Mix all ingredients together.