If you’re like me you’ve never heard of ‘Nduja until now. I was a bit skeptical of a “salami spread.” Working in this cheese shop with so many foodies and incredible products I tend to throw caution to the wind in regards to trying some of our provisions, especially the meats. Here at the Truffle our products are all thoughtfully chosen, tasted and approved. Of the hundreds of products we’ve carried in my stay I can count on one hand the items I didn’t love. With much aversion I gave the ol’ ‘Nduja a shot and was pleasantly surprised. It’s great on it’s on but has the ability to take everything to the next level. I recently read a Wall Street Journal article on ‘Nduja which inspired me to also write about this understated, versatile product. The author praises the salami spread so eloquently and accurately I had to include her quote:
“The spreadable salami is my favorite cook’s cheat. In a hot pan, it melts into a piquant oil that adds oomph, complexity and a bit of fire to all kinds of savory foods, from tomato sauce to vinaigrette. At room temperature, it can be smeared on good bread and served alongside a salad as dinner, or layered on grilled cheese, even a burger. The result rarely fails to raise the pulse rate. If Joan Jett were an Italian, and a sausage, she’d be 'nduja.”
As a fan of both Joan Jett and sausage I have to say I agree! The author and culinary graduate, Jane Black, continues her praises of ‘Nduja’s versatility in amplifying seafood, pasta, pizza, breakfast sandwiches and even burrata.
'Nduja (pronounced en-DOO-ya) is a specialty of Calabria, Italy’s most southern region. Its origins are a bit murky, but most thought of it as a poor-man’s andouille sausage brought to the area after Napoleon conquered Naples in 1806. Calabria’s 'Nduja was originally made from pork fat, ground lung, kidneys and other random bits, then seasoned with local hot chilies. The sausage was then smoked, aged or both. Today, 'Nduja is made with finer stuff, grinding up prosciutto, speck and coppa with chilies. Alle Pia, the San Diego purveyor of salumi we buy our ‘Nduja from, seasons their version with cayenne and smoky Aleppo pepper.
Whether you’re looking to cook more effortlessly or creatively give ‘Nduja a try and see what new uses you can come up with for it!