Spice lovers, rejoice! We are once again carrying ‘Nduja – and this time, it’s imported straight from Italy. Nduja rose to prominence in the last four or five years, seducing Americans with its funky, smoky and spicy aroma. In this article, we will give you the skinny – or the rather the fat – on this delicious Calabrian specialty.
What is Nduja?
‘Nduja, pronounced en-doo-yah, is a spicy, spreadeable pork salame hailing from Calabria. It flaunts a beautiful red-orange color, due to the large amount of Calabrian chili pepper it contains. Traditionally, the sausage was made with various pork meat scraps, offals, fat, and chili pepper, and was a poor’s man specialty. The high proportion of fat to lean meat keeps the sausage soft and spreadable in spite of being cured, and sometimes smoked.
‘Nduja doesn’t need to be cooked to be eaten – indeed, one of our favorite ways to enjoy it is simply spread on crunchy bread.
How do I use it?
‘Nduja stands out from many other Italian pork specialties thanks to its extreme versatility. It is perfect used as is, dolloped on crostini, freshly baked pizza, or sandwiches. However, its high proportion of fat makes it perfect in cooked dishes, where it can melt and infuse the preparation with its deeply porky, spice flavor. Here are some of our favorite ways to use it.
- Breakfast Sandwich: Shmear a healthy dollop of ‘Nduja on your bottom bun. Top with a fried egg and the melting cheese of your choice.
- Omelets: fill a fresh-egg omelets with spoonfuls of nduja, bell peppers and cheddar.
- Spicy Croissant: spread a very thin layer of ‘Nduja on puff pastry, cut into triangles and roll like a croissant.
- Vegetables: Toss roasted vegetables such as carrots or butternut squash with Nduja, top with finely chopped parsley.
- Poultry: Brush nduja on chicken breast before baking them at a low temperature.
- Pasta: add a big spoonful of nduja to a classic Italian meat sauce to bump up its flavor.
- Soup: add Nduja to your aromatics while making a Tuscan bean soup.
- Seafood: many surf & turf recipes call for pancetta – replace it with ‘Nduja for an extra spicy kick (Spaghetti alla Vongole, Mussels …)
- Mac & Cheese: stir ‘Nduja into the cheese sauce before tossing with your pasta. For an extra spicy experience, toast breadcrumbs in butter and ‘Nduja for the topping.