Monday, May 29, 2017

New Flavors- Nduja

Nwhat? Nduja? What in the heck is that? That was my first reaction when I was reading the menu at The Chef's restaurant for the first time. Nduja is an ingredient in several of the dishes on the menu- sandwiches and pizzas primarily. I had to whip out the Google on my phone and learn more right away. What did I find? A lot of information! 

Pronounced in-DOO-yah, nduja is a spreadable sausage, similar to pepperoni or salami, but quite a bit spicier. It's an Italian salume, originating in Calabria in southern Italy, where it is traditionally made from meat obtained from the head of a pig, except the jowls- those are reserved for guanciale, along with some other parts of the animal, maybe even tripe in some recipes. Roasted hot red peppers give the spread its familiar red color and heat. Here in Iowa, nduja is made by La Quercia in Norwalk and called "nduja Americana" as it is not produced in Italy. They use meat sourced from Duroc or Berkshire/Lancaster hogs from farmers in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin and Nebraska. Chefs are adding this intensely flavored sausage to all kinds of dishes and featuring it on charcuterie platters as well. You need a bold cheese to stand up to the big flavor of this spread.

Foodies are really getting into nduja too. Charcuterie is a hot trend all over, and hey, this belongs front and center with a good selection of cheeses. Plus, it's pork, and right now pork is King. It's also HOT and we all know heat, hot and spicy and killer peppers are big big big with foodies. 

The Chef is planning on adding a little nduja to his next pot of pasta sauce but I think for me, I prefer to enjoy it in it's natural form. Spread simply on toasted slices of baguette, unadorned. All I need is that and a few cheese slices for cleansing the palate in between bites. When I eat it, the first thing that hits is the pepperoni-like flavor. I'm a huge fan of pepperoni and this is like pepperoni on steroids. Then the spicy red pepper steps up and makes its introduction and it builds with each bite. Couple bites of nduja, bite of cheese, and it's so enjoyable with a glass of wine. I highly recommend you look for this flavor packed sausage and give it a try. It's another one of those unique flavors everyone should try.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 55: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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