'Nduja Is the Savory Pork Spread You Need to Know About
Whether you've encountered it in a pasta dish (think Mafaldine with Shrimp and Lemon) or as an accouterment on a charcuterie board, once you've tasted 'nduja, you can never forget it. 'Nduja (pronounced in-DOOJ-ya) is a type of pork salami made with roasted peppers and a blend of spices; but unlike many hard salamis, 'nduja is spreadable, which means you can use it in sauces for pasta or spread on crostini. It's gaining popularity stateside and for good reason—its flavor is totally unique and the texture is incredibly versatile.
What Is 'Nduja?
It hails from the town of Spilinga, Calabria, in southwest Italy and is made with spicy Calabrian peppers that pack some serious heat and creates the intense scarlet hue. Nowadays, 'nduja is often found on menus at higher-end restaurants, but once upon a time, it was a product of poverty. It was invented as a way to preserve pork and use up the less-than-desirable, fatty parts that couldn't be sold. Because of the high fat content, 'nduja never solidifies in the way that most other varieties of salami do, even after being aged for months. Legally, anyone can create a spreadable salami and call it 'nduja because the name is not protected by any denomination, DOP or IGP, according to Italian specialty food importer Beatrice Ughi of Gustiamo.
Where to Buy 'Nduja
You don't need to travel to Italy to find 'nduja. Most specialty food shops—particularly Italian or Spanish markets—sell it. You can also purchase it online from gourmet food shops or even big-box retailers ($14.49, amazon.com). When shopping for 'nduja, be sure to read the list of ingredients; the good-quality stuff shouldn't have more than a handful of ingredients including the lard and meat of wild pigs, Calabrian chile peppers, and salt. All of the ingredients should come from Calabria and the product should be free from artificial preservatives.