Nduja is basically, a spiced spreadable salami originating in Calabria (as far as we know!). Its popularity has spiked massively in the last decade or so and most of you are probably familiar with the spicy paste and have fallen in love with it. Its spicy, meaty, and savoury, and gives a deep umami with its lively spicing perfectly levelling out its richness.
What's inside nduja?
Delving a bit deeper into its contents could put a few off. Its made from pork belly and a ridiculous amount of Calabrian chilli. Then stuffed inside a hog casing, with its fat percentage generally around 50. The high-fat proportion actually helps carry those spices onto your palette and gives it its spreadable texture. After stuffing we lightly smoke or ferment the nduja. When fermenting we expose the raw meat to 29 degrees of humid heat for 24 hours. Once fermented the nduja is hung till it loses a third of its original weight.
At Northern Cure, we actually use lean meat from the shoulder, and fat from the back to produce our Nduja. This allows us to keep a more consistent fat percentage. We make a fermented chilli paste from organic chillies and dried chillies we source from the South Devon Chilli Farm. We ferment and then hang our Nduja for six weeks.
How to use that spicy meat paste
Commonly you will see it dotted generously around a pizza, and of course, its banging used that way, but we tend to think of it as a spice paste when we are cooking. Something to give depth, and background heat. We believe it's best at home in Bolognese, or in other meaty stews. We’ve seen Nduja on a number of menus across Manchester, with Erst using it in their mussel dish, and Higher Grounds using it to elevate their rarebit dish. Recently at our supper clubs, we have taken to whipping it to make its texture extra light, serving it alongside sourdough muffins. Anyway, have fun and enjoy this meaty, spicy, umami bomb!