Tuesday 23 October 2012


I have a new addiction. 'Nduja (or n'duja, or nduja - the apostrophe seems to float about) is a rich, spicy, paste-like sausage from Calabria and at the moment I can't get enough of it.
That colour? All fire and flavour

It's not cheap-cheap, at about £3/100g, but fortunately that 100g goes an awfully long way, taking it into seriously good value territory. This stuff packs a punch, and since my supermarket started stocking it a several months ago, it's been creeping (or should I say barging - it doesn't hold back) into a lot of our food.
Devilled eggs

My introduction to it was through Niamh Shields' devilled egg recipe. I saw her recipe and that 'nduja was available at about the same time, and had to have a go. These are not the polite, mayonnaise-and-curry-powder devilled eggs you may remember. These, for want of a better word, have balls. The 'nduja melts at the application of a bit of heat and combines with the tomato, vinegar and egg yolks to a delectably sticky, more-ish paste, oozing firey hot oil across the bland egg whites. Utter bliss.

Breakfast burrito with bloody mary
The combination of 'nduja and egg was so good I couldn't get it out of my mind. Made into an omelette and wrapped in warm tortillas it made a fabulous breakfast burrito.
400g sausagemeat to 100g 'nduja is about the right proportions

Scotch eggs have been having something of a renaissance over the last couple of years, and the end of September saw my twitter feed go nuts over the Ship Inn's second annual Scotch Egg Challenge. The challenge is only open to commercially available scotch eggs, so it wasn't that I wanted to enter, but it did occur to me that alongside the pickled scotch eggs, the black pudding scotch eggs, the quail scotch eggs and the chorizo scotch eggs there was definitely room for a 'nduja scotch egg. On its own, the 'nduja is too unstable when heated to be a good wrapping for an egg, and I thought the amount needed would be too overpowering a flavour, so I combined 100g 'nduja with 400g good quality sausagemeat for my eggs.

I coated them in a double layer of beaten egg and breadcrumbs, and then deep fried them until they were crunchy and a deep, appetising brown colour.

It was astonishing how well the 'nduja flavour carried through that amount of sausagemeat. I decided that those proportions were going to be my go-to for using it in future, unless I particularly wanted the unadulterated hit.

I overcooked the eggs, but that is actually how Paul prefers them, so no loss.
I used the same ratio of sausagemeat to 'nduja to stuff some peppers. The sausagemeat has a bit of rusk in it, so I didn't add breadcrumbs or anything to lighten it. Served with some leeks a la greque (which in my view is cooked in lemon juice, olive oil, coriander seed and peppercorns and served at room temperature) they were a very satisfying supper.
Look at that glorious red oil oozing out.

There was enough filling mixture to stuff 5 halves of pepper. We had two each which of course meant there was a half pepper leftover the next day for lunch. I boiled some rice (a mixture of Camargue red rice and wild rice that sounded very fancy but actually wasn't nice enough to buy again), chopped up the leftover stuffed pepper and stirred it through the rice with some datterini tomatoes and a bag of baby spinach leaves.
One half stuffed pepper made lunch for two

The flavour of the pepper stuffing started me thinking of meatballs. And as the weather has turned distinctly autumnal, it led my thoughts towards soup. A big pot of minestrone, thick with stelline, beans and vegetables, with balls of 'nduja-and-sausagemeat poached gently in it. The chilli-warmth worked its way through the whole pot of broth. Just perfect for Deb's Souper (soup, salad and sammie) Sundays.
'Nduja meatball minestrone



Unknown said...

If you like nduja you should get into sobrasada! The Iberico version, we had it stirred through rice as an accompaniment to our pork belly on Sunday. Lush!

Faux Fuchsia said...

ok I am getting some!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Little Dinner Lady - I've had sobrasada in Seville, it was lovely smeared on toast! This packs more punch though.

FF - do it! You won't be sorry!

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

Don't think I've ever had nduja, but by lord, I think I need it in my life!

Joanne said...

I'm so intrigued! I wonder where I could find this here...

Alicia Foodycat said...

Leaf - I think the pungent saltiness would be very appealing to a native sambal eater!

Joanne - you must be able to get it in New York! Not exactly what I'd call vegetarian fare though.

Unknown said...

Wow, this is so interesting, I wonder if we have nduja here in the States. I will be keeping my eye out for it. These eggs sound wonderful!

Simona Carini said...

Wow, Alicia: 'nduja really fired up your creativity. Everything you made looks great.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Chris - it might be something you can't import, I know America has funny laws about organ meats (no haggis, for example) but there might be some locally made.

Simona - it's so delicious! I honestly can't get enough. I also feel like I missed out - I grew up in an area with a lot of Calabrese immigrants, and I can't believe they never told me about this!

grace said...

i don't know the first thing about nduja, but i can state with certainty that those deviled eggs look glorious! also, scotch eggs are something about which i've always been curious, but i've never had an opportunity to eat one! sad, isn't it!

Angie's Recipes said...

Nduja...this is new to me.
I really love those stuffed peppers...heavenly!

Deb in Hawaii said...

I am not familiar with nduja but everything you made looks wonderful. The meatball minestrone looks like the perfect comfort food. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays. ;-)

Alicia Foodycat said...

Grace - they don't seem to be common outside the UK, although India makes something similar.

Angie - thanks!

Deb - it was a wonderful soup!

Su-Lin said...

Your use of nduja looks incredible! I've only had it plain so far.


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