Why We’re Obsessed With ‘Nduja, the Spreadable Salami

Why We’re Obsessed With ‘Nduja, the Spreadable Salami

This is the spicy, secret ingredient you need to bring some zing to your holiday charcuterie board

Easy to love, hard to pronounce, ‘nduja has quickly taken its place next to prosciutto, pepperoni and soppressata as the best meats for your charcuterie board. With a spicy, savory flavor reminiscent of chorizo, ‘nduja falls somewhere between a salami and a spread. In fact, it’s both, making ‘nduja an amazing addition to your charcuterie board to spread on bread or crackers, next to the creamy cheeses and salty meats.

What Is ‘Nduja?
‘Nduja is a spicy cured Italian sausage that is spiked with Calabrian chilies to give it a red sheen. It’s soft and spreadable, sort of like French pâté. “It’s possible you’ve enjoyed ‘nduja in dishes before, without being able to pinpoint exactly where that ever-so-slightly funky, meaty taste was coming from,” says Serious Eats. It’s also possible that if you’ve enjoyed ‘nduja once, you’re hooked.

‘Nduja originates from Calabria in southern Italy. Poor farmers in the region had to make do with the leftover offal and fatty scraps after they sold the prime cuts of pork. They added a mix of spices to these leftovers, stuffed it into a casing, then cured and fermented it, transforming it into a delicious foodstuff that had a long shelf life. Because of the high-fat content and the chili peppers, ‘nduja never becomes firm like typical salami.

How Do You Pronounce ‘Nduja?
Don’t feel self-conscious about saying “en-DOO-ya,” which is how you pronounce this strange word that begins with an apostrophe. Five years ago, no one else knew how to pronounce it, either. Linguistically, there is a link to the French andouille sausage, even though ‘nduja comes from Italy.

How Do You Use ‘Nduja?
A charcuterie board is certainly not the only way to serve ‘nduja. “The answer is that you can—and probably should—be incorporating this stuff into almost everything you cook,” according to Serious Eats. If you think of it as less of a meat and more of a spread or a condiment, the same way you’d use chili crisp or other sauces that add umami, the possibilities are endless.

In the morning, put ‘nduja into a super-stuffed omelet or a brunch frittata. Add it to the batter for scones, biscuits or muffins to create a savory baked good with a rich, meaty flavor. You can also throw it into tomato or cream-based pasta sauces—the same way you might use regular sausage—to add a little extra spice and depth of flavor. Most popularly, ‘nduja has become an in-demand pizza topping, giving your homemade pizza a fiery zing.

If you store ‘nduja in the refrigerator, wrap it in plastic as well as pop it into an airtight container to keep it fresh for months. On the other hand, ‘nduja will only keep for a couple of weeks if stored at room temperature.

Where and How Do I Buy ‘Nduja?
Now that ‘nduja is becoming mainstream, you can find it at major retailers like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. But, it’s important to know how to tell the good stuff from the not-so-good. According to Serious Eats, good ‘nduja won’t ever have more than three or four ingredients: pork, salt, chilies, and in America, lactic acid (an ingredient required by the FDA for fermented sausages). Some retailers now just call it “spicy spreadable salami.” But now that you can pronounce it, you can ask for ‘nduja by name.

Sausage Recipes You’ll Love

Peasant SkilletI prepare this supper frequently throughout the year, substituting whatever vegetables are in season. No matter how often I make it, I’m always asked for the recipe. —Lisbeth Whitehead, Watertown, South Dakota

Potato-Sausage Foil PacksWe had these smoky campfire bundles at a friend’s house for dinner and loved the simplicity of this great summer meal. Now we often make it for summer weeknight dinners. —Alissa Keith, Forest, Virginia

Kielbasa Hot Potato SlawI like the challenge of cooking lighter meals that pack big flavor. This one, which came from a dear friend, fits the bill. My son rated it a 10 out of 10! —Beverly Batty, Forest Lake, Minnesota

My Best-Ever JambalayaI tried to mimic Jambalaya from my favorite restaurant and it turned out so well my daughter and husband now prefer my recipe and won’t order it when we go to the restaurant! —Alexis Van Vulpen, St. Albert, Alberta

Roasted Kielbasa & VegetablesI like this dish featuring kielbasa and veggies for two reasons: It’s so hearty, and it’s a one-pan meal. That’s a win-win dinner! —Marietta Slater, Justin, Texas

Bean Soup with SausageThis soup is so simple to put together with ingredients you might keep on hand, and it’s delicious, too. The broth with potato, meat and vegetables makes it so satisfying. —Gail Wilkerson, House Springs, Missouri

Red Bean ‘N’ Sausage Soup”We have many cold months in Idaho, and hearty soups served with hot rolls help warm us up,” writes Tami Christman from her home in Soda Springs. “My mom got the recipe for this delicious soup—chock-full of kidney beans, apples and turkey sausage—at a country restaurant in Lima, Montana. Guests always ask for a copy.”

Sausage Chicken JambalayaFor anyone who enjoys entertaining, this jambalaya is the perfect one-pot meal to feed a crowd. It’s comforting, spicy and easy to make.—Betty Benthin, Grass Valley, California

Confetti Kielbasa SkilletHere’s one of my husband’s favorite dishes. When it’s in season, substitute fresh corn for frozen. Add a dash of cayenne pepper if you like a little heat. —Sheila Gomez, Shawnee, Kansas

Sausage & Vegetable Skillet DinnerI threw this sausage recipe together one night to use up produce before going out of town. Who knew it was going to be such a hit! Now it’s a recipe I turn to whenever time is tight. —Elizabeth Kelley, Chicago, Illinois

Spicy Roasted Sausage, Potatoes and PeppersI love to share my cooking, and this hearty sheet-pan dinner has built a reputation for being tasty. People have actually approached me in public to ask for the recipe. —Laurie Sledge, Brandon, Mississippi

Zucchini & Sausage Stovetop CasseroleGather zucchini from your garden or farmers market and start cooking. My family goes wild for this wholesome casserole. You can grate the zucchini if you’d like. —LeAnn Gray, Taylorsville, Utah

Potluck Sausage CasseroleWhenever my husband digs in to this pasta casserole full of Italian sausage and veggies, he gets a big smile on his face. I love that! —Jane Davis, Marion, Indiana

Lentil & Chicken Sausage StewThis hearty and healthy stew will warm your family right down to their toes! Serve with cornbread or rolls to soak up every last drop. —Jan Valdez, Chicago, Illinois

Spicy Touchdown ChiliFor me, football, cool weather and chili just seem to go together. Whether I’m cheering on the local team on a Friday night or enjoying a Saturday afternoon of Oklahoma Sooner football with some friends, I enjoy serving this chili on game day. —Chris Neal, Quapaw, Oklahoma

Pork Chops with Scalloped PotatoesMom always managed to put a delicious hearty meal on the table for us and for our farmhands. This all-in-one comforting pork chops recipe reminds me of home. —Bernice Morris, Marshfield, Missouri

Potato Kielbasa SkilletNo need to hunt through kielbasa and potato recipes, this smoky take steals the show as a hearty home-style, all-in-one meal. It’s especially perfect on those cold late fall and early winter nights. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Kielbasa Cabbage SkilletSpicy kielbasa sausage and plentiful cabbage and potatoes give this dish a pleasing Old World flair. My husband never liked cabbage before I made this, but now he does! —Romaine Wetzel, Ronks, Pennsylvania

Southwest Barley & Lentil SoupMy family makes lentil soup every new year for good luck. My mom has been making it since I was little. Over time, we’ve tweaked it so that all our family and friends love it. —Kristen Heigl, Staten Island, New York

Hearty Maple BeansI modified this recipe to suit my family’s taste. It’s a great side dish for a backyard barbecue with hamburgers and hot dogs. It can be made in advance and kept warm in a slow cooked for hours without losing any flavor. —Margaret Glassic, Easton, Pennsylvania

Bacon Potato BakeThis cheesy potato casserole is always popular. It’s a nice change from mashed potatoes and with a bread crumb and crumbled bacon topping, it looks as good as it tastes. —Helen Haro, Yucaipa, California

Caribbean Chicken StewI lived with a family from the West Indies for a while and enjoyed watching them cook. I lightened up this Caribbean chicken stew by leaving out the oil and sugar, removing the skin from the chicken and using chicken sausage. It’s just as good. —Joanne Iovino, Kings Park, New York

BLT SkilletThis quick weeknight meal reminds me of a BLT, with its chunks of bacon and tomato. The whole wheat linguine gives the skillet dish extra flavor and texture. —Edrie O’Brien, Denver, Colorado

Israeli Couscous & Chicken Sausage SkilletOur comfort food is a big plate of sausage with couscous. Add some onion, celery, a little heat and a sprinkle of feta. —Angela Spengler, Tampa, Florida

Mediterranean One-Dish MealI came up with this recipe one night while improvising with what I had on hand. I love to make simple, healthful, one-dish meals with lots of vegetables. Feta and Greek olives give this one a depth of flavor people seem to love. —Donna Jesser, Everett, Washington

Sausage Zucchini SkilletI began serving a version of this dish as a side with grilled salmon. I added sausage and rice—or noodles—to make a complete meal-in-one. —Debby Abel, Flat Rock, North Carolina

Meaty Slow-Cooked JambalayaSure makes life easy having this tasty dish stashed away in the freezer! Another plus, you throw it all in the slow cooker—no skillet necessary. —Diane Smith, Pine Mountain, Georgia

Chicken Sausages with PeppersChicken sausage is lower in calories compared to its pork counterpart, but it doesn’t skimp on the bold, savory flavors you love. Try it with sweet, crunchy bell peppers for a fast and healthy dinner. —Deborah Schaefer, Durand, Michigan

Turkey Sausage-Stuffed Acorn SquashFinding healthy recipes the family will eat is a challenge. This elegant squash is one we love, and it works with pork or chicken sausage, too. —Melissa Pelkey Hass, Waleska, Georgia

Chunky Sausage Lentil SoupLentils are an inexpensive but nutritious power food, and these days, a hot, filling and flavorful family meal at a great price is a real comfort. My husband just loves this soup and it freezes well. —Donna Scarano, East Hanover, New Jersey

Slow Cooker Red Beans & SausageBeing from Louisiana, my go-to comfort food is red beans and rice. The Crock-Pot makes it so easy and the recipe reminds me of Sunday family dinners going back generations. Serve it as a slow-cooker side dish or make it a meal with hot buttered corn bread. —Lisa Bowie, Las Vegas, Nevada

Turkey Sausage Soup with Fresh VegetablesOur family is big on soup. This favorite is quick to make and very tasty, and it gives me plenty of time to have fun with my kids and grandkids while it slow-cooks. —Nancy Heishman, Las Vegas, Nevada

Pasta & Broccoli Sausage SimmerI created this meal when trying to use up a large head of broccoli. My family requests it at least once a week, which is handy because we always have the ingredients. —Lisa Montgomery, Elmira, Ontario

Andouille Sausage SoupI make a soup every football Sunday. I came up with this recipe because I wanted to use lots of vegetables to keep it healthy, but wanted it to be interesting. My wife suggested adding the andouille and now it’s one of my favorite andouille sausage recipes. —Steven Thurner, Janesville, Wisconsin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *