Flayed Flesh Antipasto Platter

This recipe is one of my personal favorites and has been my go-to Halloween appetizer for years.  Not only is it delicious, it’s creepily realistic…so realistic in fact that I’ve used it on camera before for a CSI investigation themed film shoot.  One of the actors in that shoot, a former Chicago police officer, told me that it was disturbing how much the prosciutto-wrapped skull looks like the real thing.  I didn’t ask for more details and he didn’t elaborate.  Probably a good thing.

prosciutto skull from shoot

Actual photo from that shoot.  The worms we used were pet-grade meal worms and still alive. Little bastards kept running off.  It was an exciting day.

Along with my prosciutto-wrapped skull, I enjoy offering my strong-stomached guests an array of cured meats, olives, cheese and other finger foods and allow them to mix and match their own flavor profiles.  Meal worms are optional.

For this recipe you will need:

  • 1 Pound assorted sliced deli meats (such as salami, spicy capocollo, mortadella, and bresaola but it’s always dealer’s choice…whatever makes you happy works.)
  • 1 Pound assorted cheeses (for this platter I used Vermont Cheddar and orange rind Muenster. Parmigiano-Reggiano is always a good choice, especially if you plan on including fruits like grapes as are other cheeses like sliced Asiago and provolone.  Again, dealer’s choice.)
  • ½ Pound prosciutto, sliced
  • ¼ Pound mozzarella pearls, drained
  • ¼ Pound marinated olives
  • 1 loaf Black like my Soul baguette bread, sliced
  • serving platter
  • small bowls for olives and mozzarella pearls
  • 1 skull
  • Plastic food wrap (optional)

THOROUGHLY WASH AND DRY YOUR SKULL. Because you will be using it as the centerpiece to your antipasti platter and covering it with prosciutto, you want to make sure that it is clean and dry.

step one

**SIDE NOTE:  While it might be tempting to use a real skull for this project (because who doesn’t have a real human skull hanging around the house?!) I would personally recommend using a plastic one.  Not only will plastic be much easier to clean, (top rack dishwasher safe!) but the porous nature of real bone makes it a magnet for bacteria.  However, if you do decide to go the Full Monty on this project and actually USE Uncle Monty’s skull, I would strongly suggest first carefully wrapping it with clear plastic food wrap.  Press the wrap onto the surface of the skull, ensuring that the bone is fully covered.

COVER YOUR SKULL IN PROSCIUTTO.  Working from the eyes outward, wrap your skull in the sliced prosciutto.  Pay attention to the curvature of the skull.  You will want the fat veins in your prosciutto to follow those natural lines.  I’m using a skull with open eye sockets and nasal cavity.  I prefer this skull because it allows me to really tuck the meat into those openings, giving the skull a very realistic look.  It might not be as realistic as  a real skull with a more enclosed socket, but for our purposes, I think it actually looks better.

**SIDE NOTE #2: Having done this project for years now, I’ve discovered that the higher the grade of prosciutto you use, the more difficult it is to get it to adhere to your skull.  Normally I’d tell you to splurge and get the highest quality ingredients possible for all your projects, but in this one situation alone, I’m going to encourage you to actually save some money and go for a lower quality meat.  Because this is a cured ham product, the higher quality meat tends to be more dried out and a little leaner.  The lower quality seems to be much fattier and a little less “cured” which makes it stick to the skull and itself much better.  Like I said, this is a one time deal when I tell you to go for the low shelf stuff.  (Save your pennies on the prosciutto and spend them on the rest of your meat platter.)

the first layer.jpg

FOR BEST RESULTS AND GUEST SATISFACTION, I suggest aiming for at least two layers of prosciutto.  It will give your skull a nice “meaty” look as well as allow your guests to peel back a few layers before revealing the ‘bone’ beneath.

plattered up

ARRANGE THE REMAINING MEATS AND CHEESES AND BREAD on the platter.  Place the marinated olives in a small serving bowl.  Place the mozzarella pearls in the small serving bowl.


SERVE, allowing guests to choose their own selection of antipasti on their plate.

And as they say in Hell…

Bone appetite!


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The Necro Nom-nom-nomicon is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.  Based on a work at http://www.eatthedead.com.  Any ideas/tutorials used or inspiring other projects/products must credit and link back to http://www.eatthedead.com


  1. I loved this tutorial/recipe! The second time I made this I used a skull-shaped candy mold and pressed a cheese ball (cream cheese, shredded cheddar, green onions, etc.) into the mold, then chilled it well. I unmolded the cheese ball and covered it with the meat as you covered the plastic skull. I pressed small onions into the eye sockets and used small pieces of a lightly sauteed onion to cover the teeth. My guests did not want to eat it until I finally cut it open so they could see the cheeseball!


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