N is for Nduja

N is for wha-hat?

Nduja” is a spicy spreadable salami from Calabria.  It’s pronounced “en-DOO-ya” – which sounds sort of like its Cajun cousin, andouille.

nduja boccaloneI prefer not to know too many details about what goes into  sausages, but basically, nduja is made of pork [details here, if you must know] with roasted chile peppers. Like hard salami, nduja is cured in a casing, but the texture remains soft and spread-able at room temperature.

It’s fiery flavor adds kick when stirred into pasta sauces, vegetables, or beans; it’s also great just spread on grilled bread, panini, and pizzas.

The only place I know of where it’s available is Boccalone, at the Ferry Building or by mail order. Boccalone takes its salumi seriously (see, e.g., their Salumi Manifesto, discussing a

…renaissance of American Salumi.

This movement will be led – first and foremost —

by individual salumi lovers who recognize the character

of fine salumi and value its place in their lives.

ferry building  boccalone

Boccalone, as a proud purveyor of Tasty Salted Pig Parts, is eloquent about its salumis. The descriptions  read like a wine list:

 Nduja’s flavor profile reflects Southern Italy’s African/Moorish heritage.

A blend of chilis balances a smoky spiciness with an element of bitter orange, warm spice,

and the palate-clearing tanginess lent by a vigorous fermentation.

 Nduja is not cheap. But it is a real treat 😉

Recipes?  Nothing fancy. As antipasto, just spread on crusty Italian bread; grill or toast the bread lightly for bruschetta. Accompany with olives, tomatoes, and some pecorino, and wash down with a robust red wine.

nduja bread [260x163] nduja penne [235x164]

Nduja goes all melty when you add some heat. Depending on how spicy you like your food, use about 2 teaspoons nduja per serving; adjust to taste.

Stir it into minestrone soup to add a little kick. Or add to a tomato-based sauce, or just heat in a pan, with a little olive oil and garlic and then toss with pasta and sprinkle with parsley and grated Parma.