Elevate your charcuterie board game with this amazing Spanish Cheese & Charcuterie Board. This board features a Manchego dip with caramelized onion & roasted garlic compote paired with a variety of Spanish charcuterie.
When I think of a Spanish Cheese Board or a Spanish Charcuterie Board the first thing that comes to mind is manchego and chorizo. The two things that come after that are Jamón (ham) and Fuet. Guess what? This recipe has it all. But, of course, I just couldn’t put them all on a rustic board and call it a day. Instead, this recipe is a creative twist that completely changes the experience of making and enjoying a cheese board.
Before we get into what makes a Spanish charcuterie board, it’s important to understand what usually goes on a charcuterie board.
What is Usually on a Charcuterie Board?
A cheeseboard would usually consist of cheese, fruits, nuts, and some other munchies. A charcuterie board, however, includes cured meats next to all the above-mentioned ingredients.
The key to making an amazing cheese & charcuterie board is being creative with flavors. Since a cheese & charcuterie board is a simple appetizer to make, all your efforts are in making perfect flavor combinations. Sweet and salty, crunchy and smooth, pungent and soft, and so we can continue.
How to Make a Spanish Cheese & Charcuterie Board
Making a Spanish cheese & charcuterie board is not much different than a regular charcuterie board. The only difference is that all ingredients originate from Spain and you want to stay as close to the traditional flavors as possible. You use Spanish cheese and Spanish cured meats. So then, the next question is: What cheese comes from Spain and what type of cured meats are from Spain?
So here’s a breakdown of the most common Spanish cheeses:
These are the most common Spanish cured meats:
- Jamón Serrano (Serrano ham)
- Jamón Ibérico (Iberico ham)
From this list, Manchego and Chorizo are the most popular, most common, and a must to be honest. Of course, these two are also the protagonist of my Spanish Cheese & Charcuterie Board.
How to Serve Manchego
For a Spanish Cheese & Charcuterie Board, you usually would slice the Manchego and place them on the board. The rind is inedible but removing the rind is optional. The rind does look nice on a cheeseboard.
Instead of choosing the traditional method of placing slices, I opted for a cheese dip. Nothing tastes better than cheese dip. It’s an eye-catcher and it makes the cheese board much more interesting. Also, except for Manchego, I found the other types of Spanish cheeses are a lot more expensive and harder to find (at least where I am from).
Does Manchego Melt Well?
Manchego melts perfectly and because the flavor is not as powerful as some aged, French, cheeses it creates a mellow taste. When making a cheese dip you don’t want the flavor to be too intense. It will overwhelm your palette.
Instead, you want a cheese that melts well and also has a balance of mellow and sweet taste. That’s why I chose a 6-months aged Manchego.
Caramelized Red Onion & Garlic Compote
This dip is topped with the delicious caramelized red onion & garlic compote. With a simple dish like this, having some so delicate and flavorful as caramelized red onion just takes to a whole other level.
The flavor perfectly enhances the soft taste of the Manchego dip.
This recipe explains the process of caramelizing onions, but if you really want to get into the details then check out this post.
But, the key to perfect caramelized onions is to cook it slowly on low heat. Don’t rush it or you’ll otherwise have a very bland compote.
For the recipe, I used dry red wine, but you can substitute it with Aceto Balsamico. However you can’t drink it while making it, so that’s no fun.
Choosing Cured Meats
I’ve decided to go for the Chorizo. Fuet, and Jamón Serrano. You can add or change the Serrano for Jamón Iberico, but do keep in mind that Jamón Iberico is more exclusive and expensive.
Chorizo will come in very thin slices or as a whole sausage. Honestly, I like them as whole sausages. Traditionally, I’ve seen the thin slices be more common in Spain but somehow I find them to be greasier. And, cutting thick chunks of a Chorizo make plating easier and nicer. But, this is a personal choice. Feel free to experiment with both methods.
Spanish Cheese & Charcuterie Board
For the Compote
- 1 head garlic
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- ⅓ lb. (152 gr) red onion ((about 1 big onion))
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. dry red wine
- 1 tbsp. rosemary
For the Dip
- ⅓ cup (50 gr) butter
- 4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 2 cups (500 ml) whole milk
- 1.5 cup (150 gr) Manchego cheese (6-months aged; freshly grated)
- Salt & Pepper
For the Platter
- 7 oz (200 gr) Chorizo (sliced)
- 5 oz (150 gr) Fuet Iberico (sliced)
- 3 oz (85 gr) Jamón Serrano/Serrano Ham (sliced)
- 1 baguette (sliced)
- Rosemary (for garnish)
- Preheat the oven to 400℉/200℃. Take the garlic head and slice ¼ off the top of the garlic head. Place the garlic on top of a piece of foil. Pull the foil up to wrap the garlic, but don’t close it yet. Drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil. Then twist the top shut. Bake for 40 minutes until the garlic is soft and golden brown-ish.
- In the meantime, slice the onions, thinly (1 inch, 2½ cm), using a sharp knife or mandolin. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and unsalted butter on low heat. Add the onions and stir to coat them with oil and butter. Once the onion starts to soften add the salt, sugar, and stir. Cook the onion for about 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they get dark and wrinkly (see note 1). Add the dry red wine and stir again. Transfer to a bowl.
- Unwrap the garlic bulb and squeeze the garlic cloves out of it into a small shallow bowl. Using a fork, mash the garlic cloves into a paste. Add it to the onions and mix well. Put aside.
- In a pan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the all-purpose flour and whisk quickly until smooth. Add the milk and mix well. Keep whisking as the mixture starts to thicken and boil. Add the cheese and whisk again until it is all melted, incorporated, and the sauce is smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a (serving) bowl.
- Assemble your platter by placing the bowl with the dip on the board first. Top with plenty of caramelized onion-garlic compote. Then spread some bread first, followed by the chorizo, fuet, and lastly the Jamón Serrano. Fill the open spaces with rosemary sprigs. Serve warm!