A spreadable type of air-cured salami from Calabria, in the south of Italy. Made from the same cuts as slicing salami – pork belly, shoulder etc – it might also contain offal. Although spices are included, it is unlikely you will taste much of them because nduja also features very hot, local chillies; thus it is essentially incorrect to describe nduja as ‘spicy’ because chillies are ‘hot’ rather than spicy, although the meaning of spicy has changed over the past decades also to mean hot.
Available in specialty shops, in some larger supermarkets and online.
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The colour should be a dark red and the meat finely ground but with some texture discernible. It will have a strong (fermented) salami-style smell but should not be noticeably fatty or disturbing. Nduja sold in jars is usually diluted by the presence of olive or other oils, giving a less rich and possibly less hot taste.
It doesn’t need to be refrigerated, but will last more reliably in the fridge if wrapped tightly in cling film or stored in an airtight container. However stored, ambient or chilled, it will slowly lose moisture and become less spreadable.
Nduja does not need to be cooked before eating. It can be served as a spread on crackers or bread but its texture also allows it to be used in cooking, to add colour and heat. It might judiciously be stirred through cooked pasta, added to scrambled eggs or omelettes, dabbed onto a potato frittata, stirred into a savoury muffin mix, incorporated into bread or scone doughs or used in soups and stews of all kinds.