‘Nduja (pronouned ‘in-doo-ya’) is an incredibly spicy salame from the Calabrian village of Spìlinga. It’s made from pork mixed together with a high proportion of Calabrian chile (peperoncino), which gives it a bright red colour and fiery taste. It’s very soft which makes it easily spreadable on bread, which is one of the most popular ways to eat it, a bit like spicy pâté.
The Spìlinga website says that it has its origins in the early19th century when the Viceroy of Naples, who was the brother-in-law of Napoleon, distributed some French andouille sausage to local patriots to ensure their loyalty. It went down so well that the people of Spìlinga started to make their own version using chile. There is an obvious link between the names ‘nduja and andouille.
Perhaps due to a new curiosity for the food of other regions, ‘nduja has recently become quite famous within the rest of Italy, and has started to make its appearance on the world stage. Last year a company that import Italian products into the UK told me it was becoming relatively popular there too.
Five ways to eat ‘nduja
- Spread on small slices of crusty bread to form crostini and served as an appetizer. You could even melt a slice of pecorino cheese over the top for extra umami. Alternatively, as in the picture, spread a bit of ricotta or burrata cheese on first.
- Used as the peperoncino in a plate of spaghetti aglio, olio, peperoncino (spaghetti with garlic, oil, and chile). It will melt into the hot oil ensuring that each strand of pasta will be coated with fiery flavour.
- As a pizza topping with a kick.
- Spread on the inside of one of the slices of bread in mozzarella in carrozza.
- Mixed into the filling for stuffed red peppers.