While I was in South Africa with the girls, Richard, Andrea and Ale went on a mission for the Two Little Piggies…… in search of what we have come to love, the nduja. Nduja is a spicy spreadable pork salumi originally from Calabria, in the South of Italy. It is typically made from the shoulder and belly of the pork and with roasted pepper and a mixture of spices. Richard first tasted nduja at a client’s house. Soon after that, we went to our local market, walked by one of the stalls and I saw Richard’s face light up. ‘It’s nduja!!’ He screamed.. I had no idea what he was talking about, but later after I tasted it, I understood why he was so excited.
The trip was organised by Giacomo, a colleague of Richard, who is originally from Calabria. They went directly to Spilinga, the capital for nduja. Giacomo introduced a local producer who showed them around his farm. He took them through all the steps of making nduja. Firstly the meat gets mixed in a machine with the spices and peperoncino. Then the meat is ready to be put in the natural casing through another equipment. They are then placed in a smokehouse and finally transferred to a temperature controlled room where they are hung to age and dry. It is basically the same procedure as a normal salumi.
Richard was surprised to hear that there are actually 3 types of nduja. The one that we were buying at the local market and that we had become used to, is actually the youngest, which is aged 90-100 days. Then you have another one that is aged up to one year. This one is quite uncommon to find in the market, and is usually made specifically for the ‘connoisseur’, as the price is much higher. The third one is the black nduja, made from the ‘Suino Nero di Calabria’ (black Calabrian pork). The black pig was threatened with extinction because the animal is not very fertile and grow very slowly. Now a few of the local family businesses are trying to revive this pig breed, due to the appreciation of the high quality meat. This of course is the highest quality.
Nduja can be eaten in many ways. You can spread it on toasted bread, use as a base for a pasta dish, spread on pizza, use with mozzarella or ricotta….. the ideas are endless…. I will be giving you some recipes in my next monthly newsletter.